10 products

USA Rising Stars (with a nod to France)

The Californian project of two classic houses of France, Racines is led by vignerons Étienne de Montille and Brian Sieve of Burgundy and Rodolphe Péters of Champagne. The aim of this collaboration is to create a range of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the cool-climate of the Sta. Rita Hills, in Santa Barbara County, drawing upon each individual’s experience and knowledge from the Old World. The resulting wines, thanks to careful handling and “classic” (as in less hands-on) winemaking, highlight each specific terroir with purity and transparency.

Pax Wines is the venture of husband and wife Pax and Pamela Mahle, who craft a range of "Rhone-influenced" Syrah from a selection of vineyards on the cooler, coastal areas of Sonoma. An ex-sommelier, Mahle swapped "the bowtie for some dirty boots" - in his own words - focusing on elegant and aromatic Rhone varieties strongly influenced by the time he spent visiting cellars in France; Raymond Trollat and Pierre Gonon are amongst his strongest reference points. All his Syrah are single varietal, 100% whole cluster and foot-crushed with no commercial yeast employed. The resulting wines are marked by a distinctive freshness, "much finesse" and "much purity", as noted by Antonio Galloni.

Further north in Oregon, David Lett had been pioneering cool climate Pinots in the Willamette Valley since the mid '60s, when he relocated as a viticulture and enology graduate from U.C.Davis. Lett brought with him cuttings of Wädenswil, the only Pinot clone certified as virus-free at the time by U.C. Davis, paving the way for Pinots in the region as this clone is naturally suited to cool, wet climate and crafts very distinctive reds with a bright fruit character as well as spice and floral notes. Nowadays The Eyrie Vineyards is made up of 26 hectares (all certified organic and dry-farmed) across five sites all in the Dundee Hills AVA and is run by Lett's son, Jason. A distinguishing point of these wines is the elegance and ability to be long-lived in the cellar, gaining further complexity over the years, even decades.