Racines is a collaboration lead by Étienne de Montille and Brian Sieve of Burgundy and Rodolphe Peters of Champagne. Étienne and Brian had been on an exploratory trip to California and Oregon in search of a place where they could put down roots for an initial project beyond that of Domaine de Montille in Burgundy. In the Santa Rita Hills, they found the precision and finesse they were looking for. A year later Rodolph Peters, with a similar intent, joined forces to assist in the creation of sparkling wines, also from the Santa Rita Hills. The team came together to join their individual experiences in hand-crafting wines of purity and transparency to create a range of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wine from the cool climate of the Sta. Rita Hills in California. Racines represents the coming together of all that is wondrous about Burgundy, Champagne and California.
For Étienne and Rodolphe, Racines offers the opportunity to create something completely new, liberated from the weight of history that comes with making wine in their own villages in Burgundy and Champagne. The Racines collection brings with it all the multi-generational perspective of their combined experience, crafted in the ocean driven cool climate of the Santa Rita Hills, a terroir that has quickly come to be considered among the best in the world for making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These wines are clearly the work of kindred spirits with complimentary tastes and skills, driven to produce wines of consistent quality and precision that can stand alongside the best produced in France.
While very much an expression of this unique terroir, the Racines wines exhibit some different qualities to those we have come to expect from the Santa Rita Hills. The Pinot Noirs employing whole-cluster fermentation, adding elegance, lift and spiciness, combined with pigéage throughout fermentation, offering a more extracted flavor profile that brings volume and exceptional aging potential. The Chardonnays grown several miles from the ocean in ancient marine deposits, giving these wines a sense of energy, transparency and precision, and the advantage of being crafted with the techniques and expertise of hundreds of years of Burgundian and Champagnes winemaking.
Racines is in the process of developing their own estate vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills but is also grateful to work with some of the most compelling and historical vineyards in the region:
- BENTROCK VINEYARD -From the quickly becoming famous plantings to the western end of Santa Rosa Road, we are lucky to work with two parcels of Chardonnay. Both north facing, the first sits atop the vineyard looking out over the Sta. Rita Hills on very rocky soils, in an extremely exposed and windy perch. The second, a little lower and with more soil, sits just to the east and is protected by the hilltop parcel.
- LA RINCONADA VINEYARD - From the upper plantings at the La Rinconada Vineyard, neighboring the famous Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, consisting of deep, dark, rocky soils. This is a selection of Mt. Eden cuttings that Richard Sanford brought down from Northern California years ago.
- SANFORD & BENEDICT VINEYARD - From the famous Sanford & Benedict Vineyard with the Racines portion coming from the historic parcel of original plantings dating back to 1971. These vines are the oldest vines in the Sta. Rita Hills and situated on a gently north facing slope with thin soils consisting of lots of shale and chert.
- WENZLAU VINEYARD - The newest single vineyard chardonnay is sourced solely from the Wenzlau Vineyard that is farmed by the Racines team using organic practices. Wenzlau Vineyard sits surrounded by Rita’s Crown, Mt. Carmel, and Sea Smoke Vineyards, on a steep, dramatic hillside just above the Santa Ynez River and across from the famed Sanford & Benedict Vineyard.
Racines is quickly becoming one of the most exciting producers in the new world. A singular that brings together some of the greatest winemaking talents in France together in one of the finest terroirs in America.