Category Archives: California wines

New Russian River Valley contender – Dutton-Goldfield Winery

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Beautiful expressions of Pinot Noir by Dutton Goldfield
Beautiful expressions of Pinot Noir by Dutton Goldfield

New wineries are birthed all the time these days, what with global warming making climates around the world noticeably warmer. And for vintners in California, the vast selection of terroirs makes it easy to make many different expressions of grapes grown there. Recently received samples from a new contender that’s breaking out with multiple beautiful expressions of luxury Pinot Noir wines. Can’t go wrong with these lovelies.

Dutton-Goldfield Winery, located in the heart of Russian River Valley in CA, makes wines with the brightness of fruit, complexity, structure and balance you’d expect from grapes grown in this cool coastal neighborhood.
The partners, Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield, each came to winemaking from a completely different direction – Steve from farming and Dan from chemistry – but their partnership has manifested itself beautifully in their work with their now-over-80 vineyards comprising 1000 acres. They grow many different grapes and make small quantities of many different varietal wines, but they specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their Pinot Noirs comes in multiple expressions each year to represent all the different vineyards they own. See the full list of current Dutton-Goldfield releases here. Their Chardonnay is a delightful treat, as an aperitif and with meals. The DG Wine Club is a way for members to connect with the history and knowledge of the founders and to guarantee their own supply of DG’s single-vineyard, limited production wines all year. Below are winemaker notes on some of their new releases with links.
Pinot Noir 2017, Azaya Ranch Vineyard, Marin County. Black raspberry, plum and Bing cherry aromas with undertones of thyme and sandalwood. The palate shows boysenberry, blueberry and raspberry, with cinnamon and nutmeg notes. Perfect with earthy dishes. 360 cases produced. SRP ~$62.
Pinot Noir 2017, Angel Camp Vineyard, Anderson Valley. Aromas of dusky plum, with back notes of brambleberry and sandalwood, along with violet floral accents. In the mouth, sweet plum and wild berry fruit are underlaid with black tea, peaty earth and spice box. Round and soft tannins and a creamy finish complete this elegant wine. Serve with earthy foods. 364 cases produced. SRP ~$62.
Deviate Pinot Noir 2017, Sonoma Coast. Bold aromas of black cherry and black raspberry, with accents of tobacco, thyme and licorice along with violet floral notes. Mouth-filling with rich brambly berry flavors. Drink now or let it unwind, in the glass or the bottle. Black raspberry with black tea notes. the firm tannins carry it to a long, sandalwood-laced finish. Intense wine that pairs well with bold flavors like beef, hot peppers, lamb stew, duck curry or peppery cheeses. SRP ~$72.
Pinot Noir 2017 Docker Hill Vineyard, Mendocino County. Deep and layered. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, sandalwood, and peaty earth with a base of tobacco and black tea. Taste sweet blackberry and boysenberry that lead in waves to the long, creamy finish. Pair this robust wine equally sturdy foods like ribs, sausages or cumin lamb kebabs or creamy, tangy cheeses like herbed goat cheese or young pecorino. 402 cases produced. SRP ~$68.
Pinot Noir 2017, Dutton Ranch/Emerald Ridge Vineyard, Green Valley oF Russian River Valley. The nose alerts you to this wine’s intensity with packed aromas of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and cherry, rolling like waves after each other. Then berries and cherry compote join sandalwood, cinnamon and a sweet-earthy beetroot on the palate. Firm round tannins are ready now but will keep broadening with time in the bottle. Put this on the table with rich dishes – lamb or game birds with herbs or mushrooms, or with tangy cheeses like manchego. 671 cases produced. SRP ~$68.
01Incidentally, this is only a sample of the selection of beauties from this winery. Explore the Dutton Goldfield website and let your tastebuds tingle as you make your selections. These people do a great job.
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Association President tells passionate story of Sonoma County Winegrowers

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Map of Sonoma County wine region
Map of Sonoma County wine region

California was the original US player in the global wine market. And now individual regions, just as in France, have become stars on their own. Everyone knows about Napa Valley. And everyone has heard of Sonoma – in fact, many say the two in the same breath, “Napa-Sonoma” to describe the richest wine terroirs in the state. And lately, Sonoma County – roughly 1700 square miles that is home to about half a million people – is taking pride of place as a truly innovative leader in the wine world.

Sustainability is a question on everyone’s mind, especially in these days of increasing global warming, and Sonoma County Winegrowers are behind that concept in spirit and in fact, in no small measure because of their trade association president. This dynamic woman, Karissa Kruse, came to Chicago recently to talk about the exciting news going on in their region.

Karissa Kruse in her vineyard mode
Karissa Kruse in her vineyard mode

Kruse is a petite blonde beauty with the education, experience and passion to make her the ideal flag carrier for Sonoma County Wine Growers. She used to be a Chicagoan and still loves to visit, but has now gone completely over to the California wine country lifestyle. She is passionate about helping the members of her association become more effective at sustainable growing and helping make wine an even more powerful force for good in the world.

Hosting a group of trade and media at a beautiful semi-private dining space at GT Prime Steakhouse, the trade president glowed as she talked about the exciting initiatives she’s helped spearhead on behalf of Sonoma County Wine Growers. One of those is the move to have every single vineyard in Sonoma County be certified a sustainable growth vineyard by 2019. This will be the first entire region to be certified in the United States and possibly in the world. Sustainable farming requires a commitment – of faith and of resources – to make it happen and keep it going. Kruse was a driving force in getting the wine growers to understand how critical it is to make that commitment in spite of what might appear to be insurmountable obstacles like cost.

Many compliments to the serving staff and the culinary team at GT Prime steakhouse where Sonoma Winegrowers presented their wines with a carefully curated selection of dishes. The Dutton Estate 2017 Kylie’s Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River area (just grapefruity enough, yet much smoother than a typical New Zealand SV), and the sustainably grown Lynmar Estate 2016 Quail Hill Chardonnary were delectable with all the first course choices, which included Tuna Tartare, House Gem Salad (strawberries, snap peas, manchdgo) and a Kale Salad with sweet cherry tomatoes, brioche croutons and white anchovies).

The second course choices were Prme Beef Tenderloin, Halibut with lobster, fennel and corn, or Roasted Green Circle Chicken Breast with chipotle buttermilk, cucumber and onion rings. Along with the entree GT offered shared sides of Shishito & corn with parmesan sauce, lime and paprika, French-style mashed potatoes with chives and olio verde, and Brussels Sprouts with maple butter, prosciutto and peppercorn. All this was paired with two Sonoma reds.

The final course, a lovely selection of cheeses from Michigan, Wisconsin and France, was beautifully complemented by the Ridge 2016 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel.

Altogether, an uplifting evening of California Sonoma winemaker passion and energy shared with winelovers in Chicago – another perfect pairing.

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