Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Visit to Dutton-Goldfield Winery

© Dutton-Goldfield Winery
During an October visit to Sonoma County, I spent three straight days surfing in the morning and drinking wine in the afternoon. It was — as these trips always are — an amazing experience. The cold, remote surf breaks thrilled and exhausted me, and the small production wines warmed me up with their California goodness. During the trip, I enjoyed a whole bunch of Siduri Pinot Noirs, a slew of Zins from Carol Shelton, and a few wines from Dutton-Goldfield.

Located in Sebastapol, close to a bunch of other wineries including Merry Edwards, Dutton-Goldfield makes some quality Chardonnays and Pinots, as well as some other Syrah and Zin. The tasting room is spacious and the staff is quite friendly. They’re open for tastings every day from 10:00 to 4:30, and you pay $15 unless you buy a bottle.

My notes on the wines I tasted…

2011 Dutton-Goldfield Chardonnay Dutton Ranch - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
This Chard displays what I love about the 2011s from Sonoma: it’s crisp, elegant, yet offers a lot of flavor and texture. Aromas of green pears, tangerine and notes of almond butter. Crisp acid but richly textured, with some slight buttery-creamy aspects. Apricot and tangerine run the show, but traces of minerals and buttercream are woven in there as well. Also some balanced notes of caramel and toffee, which linger long onto the finish. So easy to drink, but complex as well. Sexy stuff, and a good buy at the price. (91 points)

2011 Dutton-Goldfield Chardonnay Dutton Ranch/Rued Vineyard - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
A bit richer and more opulent than the 2011 Dutton Ranch. Araoms of Granny Smith apples, creamy butter, mint and some waxy notes. Creamy and rich on the palate, but possessing solid acid to keep it clean. Full of apricot and guava fruit, matched with toffee, mixed nuts and some ginger snap flavors. A bolder style, but still very focused and crystal clear. I’d love to try this in two or three years to see what it's doing. (91 points)

2011 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch Emerald Ridge - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
On the nose I get a Thanksgiving medley of cranberry sauce and baking spices, along with some earthy, nutty tones. Creamy on the palate, with cranberry and red cherry fruit that tastes light and fresh. I also get some green pepper and cannabis notes. I like the soft and elegant mouthfeel on this wine. Perhaps a bit steep at $58, but a nice Pinot nonetheless. (88 points)
Not exactly cheap, but they make some solid Pinot.
2011 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Fox Den - California, Sonoma County, Green Valley
I liked this slightly more than the 2011 Emerald Ridge. It shows strawberries, cranberries and some herbal tones, although I think this needs more time to coax out more complex aromas. Fine-grained tannins, good cut, this Pinot shows sappy red fruit, along with notes of caramel, cherry candies and some herbal notes (sweet basil?). Tangy and earthy on the finish. I’d give this a year to rest up before uncorking one myself. (89 points)

N.V. Dutton-Goldfield Spectrum - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
A non-vintage blend of 58% Syrah, 28% Zinfandel and 14% Pinot Noir. Smells spicy, with pepper, potpourri and cedar. Tons of pepper on the palate... like... a lot. The black cherry and dark plum fruit is tangy, and there’s a hint of olive underneath. But that black pepper sauce stuff overwhelms most of the other elements. (84 points)

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