The 2018 Chardonnay Bentrock from Racines is gorgeous. Rich, precise and translucent, the 2018 captures the essence of Bentrock in its nuanced personality. There is so much going on in the glass. Crushed rocks, mint, white pepper, pear and floral notes develop with air, but it is the wine’s texture and overall feel that distinguish it. This is such a captivating Chardonnay.
Drink 2020 - 2028
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (August 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;
Chardonnay is often seen as the king of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.