The 2018 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Cuvee is a gorgeous appellation-level wine. Crushed flowers, mint, sage, cedar, tobacco, star anise and rose petal give the 2018 a striking aromatic upper register. Savory, deep and yet light on its feet, the 2018 has so much to offer. This is such a pretty wine, and a terrific introduction to both the vintage and the Racines lineup. Vineyard sites are Domaine de la Côte, Encantada and a few barrels from S&B.
Drink 2020 - 2030
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Aug 2020)
About this WINE
Burgundian winemakers Étienne de Montille and Brian Sieve joined with Champagne’s Rodolphe Peters to form Racines, in California’s Santa Rita Hills.
Their aim was to locate a perfect terroir outside of France: one where they could utilise produce stellar Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, outside the constrictions of their respective French regions.
The cool climate of the Santa Rita Hills provided the perfect terroir for this new venture, given the team’s multi-generational expertise in hand-crafting Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of remarkable purity and elegance. While Santa Rita’s ocean-driven terroir shines through, these wines benefit hugely from being crafted with the technique and expertise of hundreds of years of Burgundian and Champagne winemaking.
Ultimate care is given to the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, in order to coax out unique qualities. Whole-cluster fermentation is combined with pigéage throughout the Pinot Noir fermentation, to add spice to a burlier, weighted character. Chardonnay grapes are grown several miles from the ocean in ancient marine sea beds, to give the wines they create a real sense of energy, transparency and precision.
Santa Barbara County
At the foot of the Central Coast, just north of Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara County reverberates with its Missionary past, although viticulture as we know didn't arrive here until the 1970s. Now there are 6,000 ha of world class Pinot Noir & Chardonnay.
While fog banks shape the season, together with a notable rainfall deficit between May & November, elevated terraces such as Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley AVA faciliate premium fruit growing. Santa Ynez Valley AVA enjoys similar trait, though cooler still;
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.