Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield have collaborated in making some of coastal California’s finest Pinot Noirs since 1998. The source of most of their fruit is the Dutton Ranch, owned by the Dutton Family and comprised of 1150 acres of vines spread over 80 non-contiguous parcels, mostly in Green Valley in the southwest corner of the Russian River Valley. Steve is responsible for the farming, and Dan, a UC Davis grad, makes the wine. For Pinot Noir drinkers, it’s a match made in heaven. In this article we review new releases from late 2019.
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 and other vineyards in the West Sonoma Coast, Marin County, and Mendocino County. Our recent travels for wine reports on the West Sonoma Coast and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley have taken us to several of the vineyards that provide fruit to Dutton-Goldfield and given us an appreciation for how special these sites are.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Chardonnay Rued Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley ($55) 93 Impeccably balanced as usual, the Rued Vineyard Chardonnay reveals optimally ripened fruit flavors of yellow apple and pear complicated by citrus zest and smoky oak and an exhilarating, silky mouth feel. Finishes long with a nice mineral snap. 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 2017 Dutton Ranch Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River ($68) 94 The 2017 Emerald Ridge Pinot Noir begins with a beguiling nose of cigar box spice, a mix of berries, and rich black forest cake aromas. The flavors are equally rich and complex with dark red berries complemented by notes of smoky underbrush and sweet red berries that linger forever on the finish. A blend of 828, 2A, Pommard and 667 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). This is a big flavored wine that would pair beautifully with rack of lamb.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch Freestone Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley ($72) 93 With its exuberant fruit and elegant texture, the Freestone Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir is always one of our favorites. The 2017 vintage offers a nose of spicy dark red fruit lightly framed in toasty oak. It’s especially lush and hedonistic with concentrated ripe red fruit and perfectly integrated oak on the palate and lingering on the finish. Sourced from the Freestone Vineyard planted in 1996-7 in the cool, southwest corner of the Russian River appellation. It has 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 2017 Pinot Noir Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley Mendocino ($62) 94 Dark ruby color. This Anderson Valley Pinot Noir offers a rich and expressive bouquet of dark cherry, black raspberry complemented by a touch of underbrush. The palate is generously flavored with spicy dark red fruit and sweet toasted oak and round, silky tannins. The Angel Camp Vineyard is located west of Philo on a knoll overlooking the Navarro River. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Azaya Ranch Vineyard Petaluma Gap ($62) 92 Introduced by a spicy, dark cherry nose, this Pinot Noir from the cool, cool Petaluma gap offers energizing acidity on a well concentrated, smoothly textured and beautifully balanced palate of fresh dark cherry and berry fruit. Made from all destemmed grapes, open top fermented, and matured in 50% new French oak for 16 months. The oak is seamlessly integrated on thevpalate.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Redwood Ridge Sonoma Coast ($62) 92 This Pinot Noir sourced from a remote vineyard in the future West Sonoma Coast AVA is deep and complex on the nose with dark fruit and savory soy and brambly notes. Super-fresh, it’s also intense and chewy on the palate with dark cherry and berry fruit and a spicy touch of tobacco. Flavors linger forever on the finish. Sourced from the serenely beautiful 32 acre Putnam Vineyards near Annapolis, just above the fog line and surrounded by Redwoods. Aged 19 months in 55% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Docker Hill Vineyard Mendocino County ($68) 94 The Docker Hill is another Pinot Noir sourced from Mendocino County, this time from a high altitude, very cool site near the coast. It offers real purity of aroma and flavor with dark cherry and wood spice most prominent. Especially bright and intense on the attack with zingy acidity and delightful freshness and a noteworthy exuberantly fruit rich palate. From a 1000’ high vineyard planted in 2010 located southeast of the city of Mendocino. Aged 16 months in French oak (43% new).
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir McDougall Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview ($68) 92 Sourced from another high altitude, coastal vineyard, this wine was a bit closed at the time of tasting, but we fully expect it to open up with time. Savory, dark fruit and spice flavors show on a dense, well balanced palate, finishing on a mineral note. Sourced from the 1100’ high McDougall Vineyard, destemmed, cold soaked, open top fermented, and matured 16 months in 50% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Deviate Sonoma Coast ($72) 94 The Deviate, a blend of two vineyards at different ends of the Sonoma coast, always excels. The bouquet is deep and perfumed with notes of red cherry, sandalwood, and smoky underbrush. The palate is pure with a core of red fruit, a refined mouth feel, seamless integration of wood and fruit, and a prolonged, rich finish. A blend of two vineyards, one (Jentoft) in Green Valley and the other (Putnam) near Annapolis. Aged 17 months in 55% new French oak.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Fox Den Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley ($62) 94 This wine is all about the delicious sweet red berry fruit produced by this exceptional vineyard that sits just above the town of Occidental. It begins with a sweet berry perfume accented by a light note of oak spice and continues on the palate with wonderful depth and a high toned elegance. Pure, elegant and vibrant from the first whiff to the lingering finish. Sourced from the 8 acre Fox Den vineyard, planted by Dan and Steve in 2002 and located on top of Stoetz Ridge just above Occidental. Matured in 55% new French oak barrels for 17 months.
Dutton Goldfield 2017 Pinot Noir Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Marin County ($72) 92 The windswept, coastal Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir has an earthy, dark fruited bouquet with notes of mushroom and herbs. The palate is deep and richly flavored, showing red cherry and pomegranate fruit. It has a very fresh quality with seamlessly integrated oak. From a steeply sloped vineyard adjacent to the Point Reyes Peninsula where blustery weather creates very low yields of tiny berries. Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak.