Region: Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara County, California
Varietal: 100% Carignan
Tasting notes: The Railsback brothers were inspired by the sommelier cult producer, Maxime Magnon, and Beaujolais’ Gang of Four in Morgon, and sought whole-cluster Carignan made with partial carbonic maceration, delivering a juicy-fruited, crushable red that is best served chilled or at cellar temperature. An easy-drinking, light-bodied, fresh red that's loaded with flavors of plum, cranberry, baking spices, and sandalwood. It has a pronounced “umami” salinity from the nearby ocean air at the vineyard.
Producer: Railsback Frères began as a rosé project in 2015 by brothers Lyle and Eric Railsback, who call their rosé “Les Rascasses” (scorpion fish in French) as an homage to Lulu Peyraud. Lulu was the proprietress of Domaine Tempier in Bandol, maker of their favorite rosé in Provence. Lyle did National Sales for French importer Kermit Lynch for twelve years before leaving to focus on this Santa Ynez project. His brother Eric started Lieu Dit wines in Santa Barbara, inspired by wines of the Loire valley, and owns Verve Wine in NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Vineyard and Winemaking: Sourced from an amazing site in Santa Ynez called Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, located in the Happy Canyon AVA, and sheltered by the marine winds on the eastern fringe of the Santa Rita Hills. Planted to mostly Bordeaux varieties, which Railsback discovered while sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon for a private label for a Michelin-starred restaurant, the TTT vineyards are geologically diverse with serpentine, magnesium silicate, iron oxide composite, and crystalline quartz “chert” with a topsoil of clay loam that naturally reduces vigor. The few rows of Carignan at TTT produced bunches just half the size of others in the area, and the 2021 cuvée is 100% TTT. Vinified separately in whole bunches and partial carbonic deliciousness, it was bottled after five months in neutral French oak, without fining or filtration.
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