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 Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir is a supremely elegant style of Pinot that is built to age gracefully for many years to come. Sourced from a few top notch vineyards in Sta Rita, the wine is fermented with around 50% whole clusters for 3 weeks before being transferred to french oak for elevage (15% new). This is a wine that I don't feel guilty about describing as Burgundian given that it was made by one of the great producers of Burgundy; but beyond that fact, it really does capture the elegance and finesse that is a component of so many of the great wines of Burgundy. Aromatically it showcases vibrant, pure red fruit with just a hint of spiciness lent by the whole cluster fermentation. The tannins are very fine and braced by bright acidity. It is a joyous wine now and will only continue to improve in the years to come. - Andy Paynter