Racines, Santa Rita Hills, Bentrock, Chardonnay 2018 (1.5L)
Received in Original Carton; cracked wax capsules
Racines is first a collaboration—the creative and rigorous output of four great voices of wine. Justin Willett of Tyler Winery has been joined in his home appellation, the Sta. Rita Hills, by Étienne de Montille and Brian Sieve of Domaine de Montille and our own Rodolphe Péters of Pierre Péters. Together, they are marrying the time-honored techniques of Burgundy and Champagne with the pioneering energy of California—and, in the process, they are rediscovering the nuances of the appellation’s most iconic vineyards.
Following the consolidation of Domaine de Montille, a family estate that dates back to the 1730s, Étienne de Montille looked to California, eager for an opportunity to engage new terroir with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as his lens. In 2016 he set off on a month of travel among the state’s myriad appellations, meeting their winemakers, tasting their wines. In short order it became apparent that the promise he was seeking lay in the Sta. Rita Hills—and the partner for such ambition was already there.
By 2016 Justin Willett, a son of Santa Barbara and career winemaker, had over a decade of experience coaxing forth the character of the region’s best vineyards. Étienne and Justin turned to compelling vineyard blocks that Justin had long coveted, and together they have presented refreshing new entries in the most important discussions of the appellation. And then, of course, there’s Rodolphe Péters. In 2018, Rodolphe joined Racines in deepening their understanding of Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay. Their first sparkling wines, now en tirage, are likely to debut in late autumn.
97 Points Decanter
Chardonnay examples produced in Santa Barbara County, if not California in its entirety. This has a striking, dramatic minerality that vaults from the glass and only ever gains in intensity with exposure to air. The palate is full, layered and high-toned while steering clear of either shrillness or thickness. The finish is both explosive and poised; a truly recalibrating California Chardonnay for those still skeptical of what can be achieved here.