RAFT [n.]: 1. A community of waterfowl, like ducks. 2. A community of friends and family, to keep you afloat.
I enjoyed this wine thanks to my friend Drew, sipping on it with my bestie Maritza and my hubby. A true “raft” if I ever saw one. The definition is found on the bottle and is true to the core of founder Jennifer Reichardt.
She started Raft Wines in 2016 from a feeling of joy—joy of the land, of the food, of the wine produced, and of the joy when we share around the table. Jennifer’s journey revolved around the table and the community that she shared the table with.
Her family has been in the food industry of California since 1901, most specifically raising ducks for restaurants in the Bay Area (now the name all makes sense). Jennifer started on her winemaking journey in the spring of 2011, and that autumn she completed her first harvest in Sonoma County, California. Over the next few years, she completed six additional harvests, to the Sonoma Coast, down to Chile, back to Sonoma Coast, down to Australia, and back again.
Harvest number eight was marked with joy as she finally crafted a wine of her own, to share with my friends, family, and community. As a fellow millennial, Jennifer’s drive and entrepreneurship is really inspiring. Learn more about her in this great Vine Pair interview.
Raft Wines is based in Sonoma County, but Jennifer sources grapes for her wines from vineyards located all over California, including El Dorado, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Madera Counties.
This rosé in particular was called “Fleur Pour Ma Mère,” meaning “French as a flower for my mother.” This wine is meant to evoke a beautiful feeling of love and friendship and is dedicated to a mother who loved to garden, and who loved to live life in its most beautiful way.
Now, let’s get into the geeky tech info:
Just northeast of Lake Mendocino is the quaint town of Potter Valley. It’s picturesque in size, just population 650, and a stone’s throw from Mendocino National Forest. Nestled right in the heart of town is the Trails End Vineyard, where the Grenache was picked for the 2018 Fleur Pour Ma Mère.
On October 18, 2018, the grapes were picked by hand early in the morning by and brought to the winery. Once at the winery, the 1.5 tons of grapes were trodden by foot and pressed two hours later. The juice was left to settle overnight before being racked to neutral barrels and stainless steel for fermentation.
The wine completed its primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation simultaneously. The wine was racked in January 2019 to stainless steel to protect the bright fruit characteristics. On March 15, 2019, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered to be released for the summer rosé season.
And back to fun:
The wine was medium salmon in color with beautiful sediment. When I poured it in the glass, I saw tiny bubbles clinging onto the side of the glass, which I thought was interesting. It had a medium aroma of delicious red berries and stone fruit. It was dry, medium+ acidity, and was light to medium bodied. It was fresh with citrus—like grapefruit and orange, strawberries, and raspberries. It had nice complexity and somewhat of a tannic quality to it, but it was still bright. I enjoyed it on my fairly new deck and upcycled outdoor lounge set with my loved ones. Under a cotton-candied sky in a crisp afternoon, we downed it with delight.
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