Imagine fighting not just regular natural issues like drought, hungry bugs and creatures, extreme temperatures and more, but trying to make excellent wine from grapes having to grow in smoke-smothered skies. At Dutton-Goldfield they don’t lose heart.
While they weren’t able to produce any 2020 Pinots from Sonoma County, they were busy at their Certified Sustainable Mendocino County vineyards and in the coolest areas of the Russian River Valley where smoke invasion was minimal. Here are two of their crisply luscious 2021 Chardonnays. a 2021 Pinot Blanc, and a 2022 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. And if any of these pique your tastebuds, order ASAP because these are all small productions of 150 to 300-ish cases. Prices range from ~$30 to ~$60.
2021 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley. Fermented 100% in the barrel, along with 100% malolactic fermentation, the lees for these are stirred twice monthly. After the blend is mixed, the wine is further aged all summer in French oak barrels that are selected to emphasize not the oak but rather the fruit and vineyard characteristics of the wine, like ginger/nutmeg and buttercream to compliment the citrus. Your nose is greeted with aromas of lemon zest surrounded by spring flowers. Look for pear, kiwi and green apple notes. Then your mouth encounters “lemon curd and creamy pear lifted with a lime zest finish.”
A delicate oyster mineral finish makes it a perfect pairing with local Dungeness crab and oysters (prepared Rockefeller is good), or a creamy clam chowder. Cheese it with a cave-aged Gruyère. Alc. 13.5%.
2021 Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay, Marin County. This wine is made from grapes that grow in the harsh climate of the Marin coast, but with slightly protected exposures. We wanted to bring out the brightness and freshness of these old vines on this wild site but maintain the creaminess that we love in Chardonnay. After fermenting first in tank and then in old French Oak barrels, we let malolactic fermentation (30% of the wine) give it some complexity. Then we did the blending. Enjoy the zippy nose of lime zest and lemongrass touched with jasmine. Note the creamy key-lime-pie texture on first sip. Then enjoy the exotic flavors of kiwi and guava whipped by the ocean air. Finish with green apple and pear.
Think shellfish with this wine – linguini with claims or shrimp chowder. Goes beautifully with many cheeses, from young goat to aged cheddar. Alc. 13.3%
2022 Rose of Pinot Noir, North Coast. This lovely expression is a unique blend of berries from our Putnam vineyard and our green valley sites, all of which are known for their excellent structure and acidity along with plushness and complexity. Aging in 100% stainless steel maintains the freshness and brightness of this wine’s summer-sipping qualities.
Imagine a summer fruit basket of strawberry, watermelon and peach aromas touched TIG sweet orange blossom. Crisp but creamy. Now tast the trawberries and cream with dried cranberry and pink grapefruit notes. Savor the succulent finish that calls you irresistibly to have another sip. Match this gem with almost any foods – starters to mains, charcuterie to salads to fowl and fish. Alc. 14.1%
2022 Dutton Ranch – Shop Block Pinot Blanc, Green Valley of Russian River Valley. The goal with their Pinot Blanc is to showcase its freshness and minerality. Fermentation is 100% in stainless steel. Partial malolactic fermentation fleshes out the exotic peach aromas and gives extra richness in the mouth but not so much that you lose the fresh acidity and minerality. The finished wine leads with its signature peach aroma, and gives out both the blossoms and the fruit. In the mouth you’ll get peach/apricot flavors with perfect creaminess and a fresh finish with ocean salinity.
Drink this lovely sipper on its own, or let it complement your appetizers and salads. Try with white gazpacho or scallop ceviche, a coupe of no-cooking summer treats. Select fresh and mild types of cheese so that both cheese and wine can shine. Alc. 13.3%
2021 Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. This blend represents our visitation for the character of this special region: juicy berry fruit, both in the nose and in the mouth, solid structure with fine tannins, and alluring balance. Fruit is hand-sorted and then treated to our unique process – cold soaking the must (extracting spice and fruit characters, taming tannins). Fourteen to twenty days on the skins. Individual lots pressed, then racked into French oak barrels to age. We blend in early spring and let our favorite lots rest in barrel to marry flavors and gain complexity until August bottling. This voluptuous wine expresses its place beautifully. Dark ruby with color hints signals the lushness to come; the nose confirms it with its rich and varied berry selection. Boysenberry, cherry and blueberry dance over sandalwood and baking spice bottom notes, while a scent of purple flowers enhances the experience.
Drink this pinot with fish, fowl, and savory dishes made with mushrooms or earthy roasted root vegetables. And don’t miss the chance to try it with a fine Gouda cheese. Alc. 13.5%.
Guarantee you’ll love the creations of Dutton-Goldfield. Go ahead. Indulge yourself.