Raeburn Chardonnay 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Raeburn is an Olde English term which means “the river where one goes to drink.” So, it’s fitting that Raeburn’s expressive, beautifully balanced wines begin in the heart of the Russian River Valley where some of the world’s finest Burgundy grapes are grown.
Raeburn Winery is located on Olivet Road, a quiet country lane in the heart of Sonoma County’s famed Russian River Valley. Originally built in as an egg storage facility, Olivet was converted to a small production winery by iconic Sonoma County vintner, Cecil DeLoach, in 2000. The winery was then purchased by wine and spirits innovator, Derek Benham, in January 2005 and has since become Raeburn’s home
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.