Grandsons of the late Robert Mondavi craft pinot noir that embraces Mother Nature

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Raen pinot noir has deep roots from a family tree that spans four generations.

The grandsons of the late Robert Mondavi — Carlo and Dante Mondavi — have partnered to produce Sonoma Coast pinot noir.

The duo are the sons of Tim Mondavi, who managed wine-making operations at his namesake winery from the 1970s until the brand was sold in 2004.

Carlo and Dante were inspired by the great wines of Burgundy and by the pinots their father made stateside in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

The duo are world citizens of academia. Carlos studied at France’s University of Aix-en Provence and Italy’s University of Milan. Meanwhile, Dante attended Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as UC Davis.

Raen is an acronym for “research in agriculture and enology naturally.” Carlo and Dante say what sets them apart is their focus on making wines by embracing Mother Nature rather than fighting her. Their passion is cultivating wine by learning more about light, soil types, clones, row orientation, exposure and flavor profiles.

The vintners operate out of Sebastopol and source fruit from Bodega Bay and the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation, among other spots. They say their goal is to make world class pinot and while they make a limited supply, there is a window of opportunity for pinot-lovers. They can join the RAEN society through raenwinery.com.

Labels that are turning heads are always worth checking out, particularly when one has a family tree that reaches back to the iconic Robert Mondavi.

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

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