There are some wines that exist on horizons. Or maybe, they themselves are the horizon.
The horizon between the devil-may-care attitude of youth and the wisdom of old-age.
The line separating, yet connecting the erudition of tradition and the wildness of spirit.
There are wines that are equal parts fire and water, earth and air, and yet exist on the lines between all four. They glide upwards with the grace of aurora borealis licking the night, yet smell of the warming earth and its first blooms under the quiet caress of a spring rain.
The Racines du Ciel Cabernet Franc is one of them. In 2018, it sprung out of our Home Farm vineyard, unexpected and unannounced. It no longer flowed only with the carefree chatter of young vine fruit, but had precision, rhythm and clarity in its bones as well. You can see and taste the identity of the wine rising from this place of old river gravels. The Cabernet Franc was happy to be here, it was home. So, for the first time since we planted these vines, we gave it a name that spoke of the character we were meeting – Racines du Ciel, Roots of the Sky.
You don't really look for great ‘terroir’ on its own, especially not in this new world of ours. There are just too many possibilities. But you do look around, you think, then you take your best guess where to plant - and that’s where and when hope begins. The hope that you will discover the impossible combination of soils, climate and a grape variety that will be able to tell us stories which can spin us for years, for decades, for centuries. The hope that if we’re lucky, we’ll have another source of inspiration in unearthing the taste of our surroundings. The hope that its language will not only be captivating and unique, but eloquent and transparent - that it’ll hold as many secrets as it does clarity.
And then you apply human effort to this equation – sensitivity, patience and intelligence. It’s our reading of this equation, our capacity to hear what it is saying and our own idea of beauty that will let this combination of earth, water and air morph in a million different ways. It’s the fire of the human spirit to illuminate what is in front of us, even if still invisible to the eyes. Until that day when many years after the planting, you feel it in the fermenting juice and you taste it in the wine. That's how regions of reference are born - not out of predestined circumstances, but out of precise observations, free imaginations and our own ability to feel with all our senses.
There are some wines that feel like the strip of lush grass between enchanted woods and gurgling streams. There are some wines that taste like the horizon between cobalt waters and purple skies, and the ring of bronzed air, sweetened by fiery sunsets and the melting sun itself. They are the wines that possess the primordial power pulsing in the roots of a 200-year-old chestnut tree, alongside the airy grandeur of its young blooming crown - wines that marry the might of the water coursing through its branches with the fiery inner soul that weaves everything together in a dervish spin.
That is the Racines du Ciel for us.
Just like everywhere else the improbable combination of earth, plant, air and human attention exists, its roots are in the skies and its skies - in the earth.
And on the horizon where their desires for each other touch and meet our own, is where a wine that carries dreams of the past and the roots of the future is born.