Raeburn: Definitely, Definitely Unexpected

Two different scenes, but the same surprising conclusion.

Scene one: a neighbor delivers an unexpected thank you bottle. Russian River Valley chardonnay. "Ick", I think, but then again, this neighbor is no slouch. Figuring I could pawn it off on my sister-in-law on her next visit, that's exactly what happens. Except...some of it ends up in a polite participation pour for the host. And it's Burgundian, flavor-packed, not at all in possession of all the things you'd expect from RRV chard, like heavy, cloying, oaky, crank-it-up-to-eleven everything. None of that. Still, definitely chardonnay and definitely Californian. But also definitely more restrained and, therefore, easier to appreciate and enjoy. That was the 2020 Raeburn Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($20). Yes, gasp away at the price tag for a quality RRV chard.

Scene two: A few months later, the sister wine is on a retailer's shelf. This time, it's the 2021 Raeburn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($25) Again, definitely pinot noir, definitely from California, but also definitely a throwback, more reserved and, therefore, easier to appreciate and enjoy. 

To give you an idea of just how bright a bulb this wine is, it shared the table with wine of the same variety from the same appellation from a very well-known winemaker, only close to triple the cost. The "famous" wine seemed clumsy and blunt by comparison, and was still half full when the Raeburn had been drained. Empirical evidence, folks.

Both are highly recommended, particularly given their relative value. 93 points.