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Premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made exclusively from the Ranch House Block at Durell Vineyard. The name Dunstan and its horseshoe logo were inspired by the Durell Vineyard. When planting the vineyard, an old and very large horseshoe was found and considered it an omen of good luck. They named the wine Dunstan after the blacksmith, who according to legend, forced the Devil to never enter a home with a horseshoe hanging over the door.
Ellie Phipps Price bought the Durell Vineyard in 1998 from Ed Durell who had acquired the land in 1977. Durell hired vineyard manager Steve Hill and planted grapes which they began selling to Sonoma County wineries in 1982. Ellie and spouse Bill Price had an amicable divorce and split the Durell Vineyard such that Bill owns 11 acres and Ellie 60 acres including the Ranch House Block.
In 2005, Price replanted the 8.5-acre Ranch House Block at Durell which surrounds Ellie's home. Located at the southern end of the Durell Vineyard, the site includes 3.5 acres of Wente clone Chardonnay and 5 acres of 115, 667, 828 clones and Calera and Swan selections. The first vintage of Dunstan Pinot Noir was 2008. All clones will be included in the Dunstan Pinot Noir beginning with the 2010 vintage.
The Dunstan team has been making wines together under the Sand Hill at Durell Vineyard label. Don van Staaveren, who was the winemaker at Chateau St. Jean from 1985 through 1997, began making the Sand Hill wines from their inaugural 2002 vintage. In 2011, Kenneth Juhasz (Auteur, Pali, Donum Estate, Robert Stemmler) became the winemaker, assisted by associate winemaker Dan Fishman (and the Pip Wines label which offers a crisp, light Chardonnay). Subsequently, Chris Towt became the winemaker with Juhasz as a consultant.
The vineyard is open by appointment for tours and tasting (707-933-3839). The Dunstan wines are allocated through a mailing list and sold through the Dunstan online store.
2013 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.7% alc., pH 3.65, 447 cases, $45. From the 8.5-acre Ranch House Block of Durell Vineyard planted in 2005 applying 25 years of farming experience at Durell Vineyard. Durell clone (Wente). Harvest Brix 22.8º. Whole cluster pressed to barrel and fermented with native yeasts. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. Winemaker Kenneth Juhasz. · Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Subtle, but pleasing aromas of citrus blossom, apple and blonde caramel. A sophisticated and polished wine with an exquisite marriage of vivid citrus, apple and banana fruit flavors with oak accents, enlivened by crisp acidity. The wine’s beauty lies in the blend of bright acidity, a creamy texture and understated but engaging flavors. Score: 94. Reviewed February 26, 2016 ARTICLE »
2013 Dunsten Durrell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.65, 425 cases, $55. From the 8.5-acre Ranch House Block of Durrell Vineyard planted in 2005. Calera, Swan, Dijon 667, 115 and “828.” Harvest Brix 23.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day cold soak, extended 3 week fermentation. Aged 14 months on the lees in French oak barrels, 50% new. Winemaker Kenneth Juhasz. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas emerge with swirling, revealing notes of dark red and black berries, earthy flora, and herbs including Italian sage and vanilla. The wine bursts with engaging strawberry flavor accented with a bit of cherry and seasoned with the slightest oak. Highly enjoyable, with modest tannins, balanced acidity, and a very charming burst of ripe strawberry and spice on the glorious finish. Score: 93. Reviewed February 26, 2016 ARTICLE »
2012 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., Unreleased. Same vinification as the 2011 vintage. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels. Bottled 1 month before this tasting. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Subdued, but pleasant aromas of red cherry, loam and spice. Delicious with obvious potential, featuring vivid flavors of raspberry, cherry and spice. The oak is fully integrated and the fine-grain tannins are only modestly imposing. Terrific charm with a glorious cherry-driven finish. Score: 93. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Rosé
12.9% alc., 95 cases, $25. Cellared and bottled by Sand Hill Wines of Sonoma. A true rosé made from grapes grown expressly for this wine from the 8.5-acre Ranch House Block planted in 2005. Pressed immediately to 50% neutral oak barrels and 50% stainless steel tanks. · Pale orange color and clear in the glass. Demure aromas of strawberries, rose petals and seashells. Very delicate flavors of strawberries, orange zest, watermelon and cantaloupe. Crisp, bright and refreshing. Score: 87. Reviewed July 21, 2013 ARTICLE »
2012 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 92 cases, $25 (sold out). Grapes picked a little earlier from a certain block in the Ranch House Block. Grapes were lightly crushed by foot before pressing to neutral French oak barrels for 6 months. Winemaker Kenneth Juhasz. · Light orange color in the glass. Lovely aromas and flavors of strawberry and blood orange with good body and intensity. Thoroughly enjoyable. Score: 89. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 400+ cases, $45. Release September 20, 2014. Aged in 30% new French oak barrels. No malolactic fermentation. · Very fresh nose redolent of lemon curd, nutty oak and salt air. Crisp and bright on the palate with good intensity of lemon, nectarine, pear and honey flavors Score: 93. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2011 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.80, 318 cases, $45. Sourced from the Durell Vineyard 8.5-acre Ranch House Block planted in 2005 with 3.5-acres of old Wente selection with the balance to 5 different clones of Pinot Noir. 50% whole cluster and 50% destemmed old Wente Chardonnay aged 14 months in French oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation was inhibited at the end of primary fermentation. · Medium golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Very lovely nose offering effusive aromas of lemon, brioche, vanilla and spice. Beautifully composed and balanced with appealing flavors of lemon, baked apple, banana and oak spice offering good richness of flavor. The overall impression is one of freshness and crispness with a finish that is outright lip-smacking. Score: 93. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »
2011 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.3% alc., $45. Aged 14 months in 40% new French oak barrels. No malolactic fermentation. · Bright yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of buttery pear, lemon curd and caramelized oak lead to a silky palate of pear, white peach lemon, and stony minerality. Bright and thirst quenching. Score: 90. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2011 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 316 cases, $55. Bottled 14 months ago and just released. Composed of 5 clones grown in volcanic soils. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Endowed with hi-tone aromas of fresh cherry, strawberry, spice and a hint of oak. Rather exotic tasting with mid weight flavors of cherry, raspberry, other wild berries, red plum, and peppery spice. Silky with complimentary barrel management. Score: 90. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.80, 291 cases, $50. A blend of all five clones in the Ranch House Block. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasingly aromatic with scents of dark berries, toasty oak and mushrooms on the grill. Impressive mid palate attack of dark red and black berry fruit with a hint of brandy-soaked cherries. A little earthiness adds to the appeal. With a satisfying fullness on the palate, full ripeness, and a long finish, this wine aims to please. On top of that, it has a uniqueness that sets it apart. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »
2009 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay
14.4% alc., $39.95. · Golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Oak-driven aromas of toffee, butterscotch, allspice and mocha java with baked pear in the background. Tasty middleweight flavors of baked pear, baked apple, honey, oak toast and minerals with good fullness and roundness. The heavy oak influence is not for me personally, but the wine is well crafted in its style. Good (+). Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.63, 231 cases, $50. Second vintage from Ranch House Block at Durell Vineyard. A blend of 115, 667, 828 clones and Calera and Swan selections. Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Placed second out of 460 Pinot Noirs tasted at the 10th Annual Pinot Noir Summit in 2012. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Evocative nose offering aromas of spiced black cherries, black cap raspberries, sassafras and oak, picking up interest and intensity over time in the glass. Offers moderately dense and very ripe flavors of dark cherries and berries with notes of tea and vanilla. Soft in the mouth, almost creamy, with silky tannins and amazing length on the generous finish. Simply delicious. Top notch. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »