Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield have collaborated in making some of the Russian River’s finest wines from Dutton Ranch vineyards since 1998. The source of most of their fruit is the Dutton Ranch, owned by the Dutton Family and comprised of over 1150 acres of vines spread over 80 non-contiguous parcels, mostly in Green Valley in the southwest corner of the Russian River Valley. Steve’s father Warren was one of the Russian River Valley winegrowing pioneers. In 1967 he planted the first Chardonnay in western Sonoma in what is now known as the Home Ranch in Graton. Steve grew up farming and today runs the vineyard management company Dutton Brothers Farming with his brother Joe. Joe also has his own winery, Dutton Estate.
In addition to the Green Valley and Russian River Valley, Dutton Goldfield sources fruit from several other wine regions: the Petaluma Gap, Fort Ross-Seaview, Marin County, and Anderson Valley in Mendocino. A vineyard map can be found at the end of this article.
Highly talented, UC Davis grad Dan Goldfield is responsible for the winemaking at Dutton Goldfield. He previously made wine at Mondavi, Schramsberg, La Crema, and Hartford Court. In this article we review some recent releases from the 2016-2018 vintages.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley ($39) 91 A nicely balanced wine with fruit and acidity working in tandem. The bouquet is reminiscent of lemon curd with mineral notes that are reflected on the palate with unobtrusive oak that gives the wine good breadth and just enough spine. Delicious, easy drinking. A blend of several vineyards, barrel fermented, full malo, and aged 10 months in French oak (40% new).
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Chardonnay Rued Vineyard Green Valley ($55) 93 Coaxing aromas of gunflint, honeysuckle, minerals and ripe orchard fruit. Seamless with exceptional purity and integration of flavors and a suave, velvet texture. A lovely, elegant wine from a vineyard planted in 1969 by Warren Dutton and home to what is known as the Rued clone. The wine is barrel fermented, goes through full malo, and is aged 17 months in 50% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch Walker Hill Vineyard Green Valley ($50) 92 An effusive bouquet of honeyed lemon, mango and gunflint is repeated on the palate. Good breadth and focus with excellent balance and a delicious, long rich finish with bright notes of citrus acidity. The Walker Hill vineyard was planted in the 1980s using the old Wente selection. Matured 17 months in French oak, 50% new.
Dutton Goldfield 2018 Pinot Blanc Green Valley ($30) 91 An especially aromatic Pinot Blanc showing open notes of white peach, melon and pear. It offers generous fresh fruit and a delightful interplay between fruit and acidity on a softly textured palate. Densely flavored, the wine also conveys a sense of perfumed refinement. Located on Graton Road outside Sebastapol, Warren Dutton replanted part of this vineyard to Pinot Blanc in 2003. Now 15 years old, the vines are dry farmed, and the grapes are cold fermented using a special Alsatian yeast strain. All stainless fermented and partial malo. The moderate 2018 vintage enjoyed a bit of extra hang time that gives the wine a lovely balance of flavor and freshness.
Dutton Goldfield 2018 Gewürztraminer Green Valley ($30) 90 Made in a dry style, the Gewürztraminer Is multidimensional in aroma and flavor, showing notes of tropical fruit, citrus and ginger on a juicy palate. Late arriving acidity energizes the finish. Should be paired with seafood and slightly spicy Asian dishes. Steve Dutton planted this 0.7 acre very cool climate parcel along the east bank of the Atascadero Creek to Gewürztraminer in 2005. The fruit is cold fermented using an Asatian yeast strain that enhances floral aromatics.
Dutton Goldfield 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($30) 91 Pale pink. Interesting aromas of raspberry, rose petal, and pomegranate with and interesting mineral edge. While completely dry, the palate reveals a dense mélange of red berry and tropical fruit finishing with excellent persistence. Grapes are sourced from four different vineyards, foot trodden, and fermented slow and cold like a white wine. The moderate 2018 season allowed harvesting at low sugar.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley ($45) 91 This is Dutton Goldfield’s entry level Pinot Noir, but it’s of a quality that compares with the single vineyard bottlings of most Sonoma wineries. There’s lots of youthful red fruit with some savory, earthy notes and dark berries. It offers delicious, easy drinking early on. A blend of several vineyards, open top fermented and matured 10 months in 40% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir McDougall Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview ($68) 93 Medium ruby purple. Lovely aromatics with concentrated plum, pomegranate and red berries and spice that show from the first whiff to the final, long long finish. This is a mouthfilling wine, elegant and rich with spice and underbrush notes complementing the dense fruit on the palate. Sourced from the 1100’ high McDougall Vineyard overlooking the Pacific, destemmed, cold soaked, open top fermented, and matured 16 months in 50% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch Freestone Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley ($72) 93 This Pinot Noir is one of the most elegant of the Dutton Goldfield portfolio. Dark red cherry and pomegranate complemented by touches of marjoram and spice show on the nose, leading to a sensual attack and a super silky palate of impressive intensity and purity. The wine finishes with outstanding persistence and lingering cherry-boysenberry-earth notes and remarkably accessible tannins. From the Freestone Vineyard planted in 1996-7 in the cool, southwest corner of the Russian River appellation. Particularly cool growing conditions with low yields and tiny, thick skinned berries. Hand sorted, destemmed, and cold soaked for 5 days in open top fermenters. Matured 17 months in 55% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Dutton Ranch Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River ($68) 94 Deep and complex aromas of smoky underbrush, violets and black raspberry. Refined palate revealing remarkable purity of dark red berries complemented by seamlessly integrated French oak. on a lingering, sweetly perfumed note. Drinking beautifully in its youth but should evolve into something even more special with some time in bottle. A blend of 828, Pommard and 2A clones from the Emerald Ridge Vineyard, planted by Steve in 2001 on an east-facing slope. Matured 16 months in 50% new French oak (Taransaud, Hermitage, and Fouquet).
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Deviate Sonoma Coast ($72) 93 Beautiful perfume of dark cherry, kirsch, and a hint of forest floor. Dense and pure on the palate with a silky mouth feel and a very flavorful, savory finish with lingering black cherry extract. A blend of two vineyards, one (Jentoft) in Green Valley and the other (Putnam) near Annapolis. Aged 15 months in 55% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley ($58) 92 Dense and fruity, the Angel Camp Pinot Noir shows notes of dark cherry and black raspberry with hints of underbrush and crème de mûres. In addition to being intensely flavorful, it’s balanced and easy drinking. From a vineyard located above the Navarro River.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Fox Den Vineyard Green Valley ($62) 92 Sourced from the 8 acre Fox Den vineyard, planted in 2002 and located on top of Stoetz Ridge just above Occidental, this wine exhibits penetrating aromas of wild red berries and cherry compote. It reveals striking purity and focus on a finesse-styled palate with flavors that mirror the bouquet complemented by light notes of oak spice. Vibrant on a long finish. Matured in 55% new French oak barrels for 17 months.
Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Redwood Ridge Sonoma Coast ($62) 93 Medium ruby purple. Effusively perfumed of darker red fruit with a hint of brambles. Concentrated and chewy on the palate with bright red fruit accents. A big mouthfilling wine showing rich extract on the finish. Matured 17 months in 55% new French oak. Sourced from a parcel within the 32 acre Putnam vineyard, a bucolic site located near Annapolis and 5 miles from the ocean, above the fog line and surrounded by giant redwoods. The climate is cool, rainfall plentiful, and the small, thick skinned grapes mature slowly.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Azaya RanchVineyard Petaluma Gap ($62) 92 Revealing perfumed, deep berry fruit aromas, this is a gracious and harmonious wine with opulent flavors that mirror its bouquet. Refined and delicious, it has silky tannins and excellent persistence. Made from all destemmed grapes, open top fermented, and matured in 50% new French oak for 16 months.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Pinot Noir Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Marin County ($68) 91 This is an easy drinking, pretty wine that shows plenty of fresh, upfront cranberry and red berry fruit and a dash of exotic spice. Nicely balanced with refined tannins and savory notes. Would go well with chicken and pork dishes. The terraced, steeply sloped vineyard is adjacent to the Point Reyes Peninsula. Matured in 50% new French oak for 16 months.
Dutton Goldfield 2016 Zinfandel Dutton Ranch Morelli Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley ($50) 91 Beautiful pure dark and wild cherry fruit is complemented by notes of perfumed flowers and underbrush in this red fruited, old vine Zinfandel. More refined than blockbuster in style, it offers abundant sweet fruit that begins on the attack and ends on a prolonged finish. Open top fermented and aged 16 months in 40% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2015 Syrah Cherry Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley ($50) 93 The lower yields of 2015 due to the wet spring produce a benefit in the case of the Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah. This wine is super dense and rich from the first scent to the last, lingering aftertaste. It shows a mélange of dark red fruit—black cherry, plum, black raspberry—complemented by spice and herbal notes, all seamlessly integrated on a broad, supple palate with well-knit tannins. A wine meant for grilled lamb. Cherry Ridge has 470, 383 and 877 clones planted on a south facing ridge. Hand sorted, cold soaked 5 days with some whole clusters and vinified in small open top fermenters and then aged 23 months in 40% new French oak.