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Dutton-Goldfield Wines are Consistently Top Shelf

Valerie Wathen of Dutton-Goldfield Winery recently hosted me for a vineyards tour with Steve Dutton and a tasting of some current Pinot Noirs. We spent some time at both Emerald Ridge Vineyard and Jentoft Vineyard, both in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA. Emerald Ridge was planted in 2001 to multiple suitable clones and Jentoft to the Calera clone in 2000. As the vineyards have matured, the wines produced from these sites have shown special qualities. Emerald Ridge became a vineyard-designate in 2009 and Jentoft, a component of the special Deviate Sonoma Coast bottling, is now being considered for vineyard-designation.

Dutton-Goldfield represents a unique collaboration between fifth-generation farmer, Steve Dutton, and veteran winemaker Dan Goldfield. The two longtime friends and colleagues began their winery with a handshake in a vineyard on 1998. Steve Dutton’s father, Warren Dutton, grew Pinot Noir and Chardonnay beginning in the mid-1960s in the cooler, western part of Sonoma County. Today, along with his brother, Steve manages over 80 separate vineyards comprising more that 1,100 acres. Dan Goldfield graduated from University of California at Davis with an M.S. in Enology in 1986. He went on to earn his winemaking stripes at Robert Mondavi Winery, Schramsberg, eventually finding a passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and became the winemaker at La Crema Winery and then Hartford Court, which was created under his direction.

Most of Dutton-Goldfield’s vineyards are located in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley as can be seen in the map below. This area is located in the southwestern portion of the Russian River Valley and is one of the coolest AVAs in Sonoma County. Here, the predominant Goldridge fine sandy loam soils provide excellent drainage and balanced nutrients, and the vines benefit from the cool air and fog from the ocean through the Petaluma Wind Gap.

Dutton-Goldfield has a winning formula: carefully selected vineyards most of which are expertly managed by one of the proprietors and meticulous winemaking by the other proprietor who is a veteran of his craft. Visit

2014 Dutton-Goldfield Redwood Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.61, 278 cases, $62. Inaugural bottling from William Wesley Vineyard located in the Annapolis area of the Sonoma Coast. Only 5 miles from the coast but at an elevation above the fog line allowing for enough gentle warming throughout the day for adequate grape maturation. Gravely soil, close-spaced vines lead to low yields, thickskinned fruit, small berries and concentrated fruit. De-stemmed, layered into open-top fermenters where a 5- day cold soak ensued. The wine was racked in March and barreled an additional 5 months before bottling. Total aging in French oak barrels was 15 months in 55% new barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasing perfume of black cherry, dark red berries and baking spices. An impeccably balanced wine with delightful flavors of black raspberry and blueberry-pomegranate underlain with a riff of nutty oak and savory spice. Rather elegant, but with firm fruit tannins providing support. The finish is remarkable for its intensity and persistence. Score: 91

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.67, 240 cases, $58. This 10-acre vineyard is owned by Dan Goldfield’s good friend, Brian Zalaznick, who planted this vineyard in memory of his brother and family. It is located west of Philo on a scenic knoll overlooking the valley. An assortment of Dijon and heritage clones are planted - Pommard, ‘828,’ and 667 are in this wine. Destemmed, 5-day cold soak in small open-top fermenters, clones co-fermented. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. I loved the aromas of cherry and warm spices. The mid weight flavors of blueberry, pomegranate, cherry and spice are enticing. The tannins are very fine grained and gentle, a woodsy oak note plies the background, and the wine ends with a slightly tart, well-spiced red fruit array. Score: 91-92

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Azaya Ranch Vineyard Marin County Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.59, TA .63, 184 cases, $62. Vineyard planted by Mark Pasternak for the McEvoy family in Hicks Valley. 18-acres are planted to clones 667, ‘828,’ 115, 777 and 2A. This wine contains ‘828,’ 667 and 115. De-stemmed, 7-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, no sulfur dioxide at crusher to preserve delicacy. Initially aged in 45% new French oak, then blended in early spring. Total aging 15 months. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, graham and vanilla set the stage. Impressive cherry sap lifted by bright acidity and framed by tightly would tannins. Impressive attack, mid palate presence and finishing power with length. Score: 92-93

2014 Dutton Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.60, 646 cases, $62. Vineyard planted in 2001 by Steve Dutton in Goldridge sandy loam soil to several Pinot Noir clonal blocks. This offering contains Pommard, 2A, 667 and ‘828.’ De-stemmed, 5-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A complex wine with an array of aromas including wild dark berries, cardamom spice, forest and floral bouquet. Mid weight styled juicy flavors of blueberry, dark raspberry and plum. Supportive oak with soft tannins and a quenching finish. This wine will benefit from more time in bottle. Score: 93-94

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

(Tech data not yet available) · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of wild strawberries and cherries soar from the glass. Mid to full bodied explosion of fruit flavors that attack with length and purpose, finishing with a grand generosity. Score: 93-94

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Deviate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., Ph 3.49, TA 0.68, 406 cases, $72. A followup of the first deviation from single-vineyard bottlings in 2013. This wine is a blend if two far flung Sonoma Coast vineyards: Jentoft Vineyard in Green Valley (Calera clone) and Putnam Vineyard near Annapolis. De-stemmed, 5-day cold soak in small open-top fermenters, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Earth, floral and foliage aromas compete with an array of dark berry scents that is intoxicating. Very smooth and sexy on the palate with vibrant blackberry flavor framed by ripe fruit tannins. Remarkable follow through on the intense finish that seems to last a minute. Still very young, but blessed with unbridled potential. You can plan a special dinner around this wine. Score: 95-96

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Marin County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 80 cases, $N/A. This wine is to be offered to wine club members first in the fall 2017, but check with the winery for availability. A very limited bottling from vines planted in 1980. Aged on the lees in stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. A very special, beautifully composed Chardonnay that is crisp, bright and juicy, even when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle that sat out on my desk. More pleasing pear and other orchard fruit flavors than citrus backed by an invigorating cut of acidity. Score: 97

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