From the Wine Shop
Raen, “Royal St. Robert Cuvée” Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, California 2017 (750mL)
You can’t talk about RAEN’s “Royal St. Robert” Pinot Noir without mentioning Robert Mondavi, the California wine legend for whom this cuvée is named. The brothers behind RAEN, Carlo and Dante Mondavi, are Robert’s grandsons, and more than anything else, they inherited from him an unwavering belief in the greatness of California wine—and California’s terroir. And while Robert Mondavi is most readily associated with Cabernet Sauvignon that rivaled (and often eclipsed) Bordeaux’s best, Carlo and Dante are gunning for the greats of Burgundy with their gorgeously perfumed Chambolle-like Pinot Noirs from the extreme Sonoma Coast.
Every time I serve this wine blind to someone they think it’s top-tier Burgundy, and I understand why. RAEN is very serious, very ambitious wine that has ascended to the elite ranks very quickly, and for all the right reasons: Far from being a mass-market brand, RAEN is all about meticulous, sustainable viticulture and resolutely natural, small-batch production. It’s the same kind of rapturous devotion to “site”—i.e. the unique qualities of a specific vineyard, and the nuances it imparts to Pinot Noir—you see at the great family-run domaines of Burgundy. It helps that they chose the Sonoma Coast, arguably California’s greatest source of true “cool-climate” Pinot Noir, to plant their flag, and they’ll be the first ones to tell you that: Don’t focus on the famous surname, focus on the trio of perfectly situated vineyards, all of them mere miles from the Pacific Ocean and farmed with fanatical care.
We’re currently sitting on a small “vertical” of this wine, and for those of you familiar with the filigree tannins and floral perfume of great Chambolle-Musigny, this will be right up your alley! On release, the wine is generously fruity but medium-bodied and linear, needing a little time in a decanter to unwind. When drinking it, you can’t help but feel like you’re in a dewy redwood grove someplace, eating wild berries as twigs and leaves crackle underfoot. The goal here is classical structure (note the modest alcohol levels) and, as a result, ageability. Serve at 60 degrees in Burgundy stems with Pacific Salmon, roast chicken or pork, or some just-foraged mushrooms simply sautéed and served over pasta or polenta. This is a new-generation Pinot Noir with Old World soul.
- CountryUnited States
- Sub-RegionSonoma Coast
- SoilSandy Loam & Iron-Rich Sandstone
- BlendPinot Noir
- OakFrench Barrels, 10% New
- Temp.Serve at 60° F
- GlasswareBurgundy Stems
- Decanting30 Minutes
- PairingDuck Confit w/ Lentil Ragout
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Through the grapevine
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