‘We are so fortunate that we have a planet to make wine on’ Carlo told us.

His passion for making vivid, ethereal Pinot Noir was inspired by the wines he tasted at DRC and Domaine Dujac (he is good friends with the Seysses). This passion is matched only by his commitment to sustainable and permaculture farming; nature at the heart of everything they do. (Carlo’s long-term plan is to turn all of Sonoma and Napa onto sustainable farming). Carlo and his brother Dante founded RAEN in 2013 on the extreme Sonoma Coast to pursue a dream of making exhilarating, lifted and perfumed Pinot Noir. A remote and raw territory, the climate here is often cooler than in Burgundy and alcohols usually struggle to get above 13%.

Though their winemaking style is very different to that of their father or grandfather, the brothers are loyal to their legendary Mondavi roots and credit their grandfather for their passion in wine and their desire to set up a winery. Carlo readily reminisces about the life-lessons he learned from his grandfather, including ‘the biggest risk is not taking a risk at all’. Carlo and Dante have thrown themselves into making the very best wine they can. They work from a small winery with small plots that are each producing distinctive wines. Bodega comes from a vineyard close to the Pacific Ocean with some of the oldest meter-bymeter plantings on the Sonoma Coast. Carlo describes it as a wine that reflects the forest meeting the ocean and with its firm, powerful body, he considers it most akin to Vosne-Romanee in style. Sea Field, in contrast, comes from a high altitude vineyard based on an ancient sea bed with fossiled crustaceans in the soil. Carlo considers the seductively perfumed wines that come from this plot to be Chambolle-like. Finally, the Royal St. Robert bottling is dedicated to their grandfather. It is a selection of four coastal sites and Carlo compares it most closely to Gevrey-Chambertin.

2020 was ‘a perfect vintage’ according to Carlo, ‘until the late summer’. It definitely falls into the category of ‘warm’ vintages, but there ‘was a sense of balance’. Sadly wild fires, for the first time, affected this cool part of California. Thankfully, the brothers had picked much of their fruit before the fires started and so were not affected by smoke damage, though yields are tiny. Carlo is delighted with the quality of the vintage and having tasted them, we rather agree. 80% of stems, on all cuvées, were used to give an added freshness and, as usual, they rely only on native yeasts. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration to retain purity; at this early stage the 2020s are authoritative, yet elegant, with the signature RAEN perfume. The brothers are rightly proud of the vintage.

We ask that we may have your order by 5pm on Monday 18th April, so we can allocate on Tuesday 19th.

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