Deep gold color; apple, pear, oak, vanilla, on the nose; yellow apple, ripe pear, vanilla, honeydew melon, lemon curd, crème brûlée on the palate.
Dry; smooth, tasty; medium body; 100% chardonnay from Russian River Valley in Sonoma AVA. Some oak—75% barrel fermented in French and Hungarian oak, 50% new; 75% malolactic fermentation; some structure and sophistication with six months aging sur lie; reserved acidity (3.64 pH). Pleasing initial attack with hint of spice, lemon coming on mid-palate and finish; 14% ABV.
Derek Benham is the proprietor, he also owns Avalon, reviewed earlier. The website notes: “Derek attended the University of California, graduating in the late 70s, and joined the wine industry in sales with a Lodi based winery. In 1990, Derek and his brother founded Codera Wine Group and created the Blackstone brand. Two years later,
the brothers purchased the old Hallberg apple cannery in Graton, California which had been converted to a winery in 1979. After seven successful years, Blackstone was sold to Constellation Brands in 2001. That same year, Codera was dissolved and Derek started Purple Wine Company based in Graton.”
Derek created Raeburn in 2014. His mother’s influence is felt throughout from the egret crest on the label—Phyllis Benham was a birdwatcher and naturalist—to the Olde English word “Raeburn”—which means “the stream where one drinks.”
Raeburn wines are made in a Certified California Sustainable winery. The website notes: “With Sonoma County as our inspiration, we run one of the most eco-friendly, water-efficient, solar-enabled facilities in the industry. A canopy over the winery diverts rainwater (up to one million gallons annually) into Atascadero Creek, a federally protected salmon-spawning habitat. We partnered with leading solar technology innovator, Cogenra Solar, to install solar modules as well as collaborated with Tesla Energy to install Powerpack commercial batteries at the winery. In addition, we recycle 90% of all winery packaging materials and host several beehives on winery grounds. The Russian River Valley’s watershed provides a unique habitat for flora and fauna, including Coho salmon, Steelhead trout, egrets, herons and deer. We believe it’s our job to keep it that way.”
Raeburn Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2017 is classic California chardonnay without the oak and butter being overdone. Expressive fruits. Creamy and pleasing in the mouth. Pair with mild, buttery, creamy dishes; meaty fish and seafood—cod, halibut, shrimp, lobster, scallops, crab; simply seasoned poultry and pork dishes; Caesar salad; risottos, cream-enhanced soups, sauces, pasta. Avoid heavily seasoned or spicy foods; bitter foods; acidic foods such as olives, capers, ceviche. Don’t serve this chardonnay too cold—allow its rich flavors to pleasure your palate. $17-20