NV Racines “Grand Reserve” Sparkling Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills
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To say that Racines is an exciting new estate in southern California would be to drastically undersell these wines. The winery was founded as a partnership between Etienne de Montille who owns and operates the eponymous de Montille winery in Burgundy, his chef de Cave Brian Sieve, and Rudolf Peters who runs Pierre Peters in Champagne. de Montille and Pierre Peters are certainly among the great properties in their respective regions and both showcase a beautiful marriage of traditional techniques, paired with attentive farming, and precise wine making. The fact that the teams from these great wineries are working together in the Sta Rita hills is an endorsement of the quality potential to be found in this corner of California.
The sparkling wine from Racines is of course made by the great Rudolf Peters, emulating his house style from the Cote des Blancs in Champagne. This is a Blanc de Blanc traditional method sparkling wine made from 100% organically farmed Chardonnay. It is bottled extra-brut with 4.5 grams of dosage after aging on the lees for 30 months. The wine is simply sensational! Were you to put this side by side with a glass of Pierre Peters Champagne most tasters would be hard pressed to pick out the California wine; it's really that good! If anything the Grand Reserve has a bit more sun kissed fruit, more ripeness in the aromatics; to compensate it also has slightly less dosage than Rudolf's flagship reserve cuvee from Champagne resulting in a classically steely Blanc de Blanc. Any Lover of Champagne should give this wine a shot because it is not to be missed. - Andy Paynter