Many Vineyards Make Great Wines

For Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield, the cool Russian River Valley is the ideal place to create refined and balanced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The larger appellation, however, is just the beginning of their keen interest in place; many of Dutton-Goldfield’s wines come from the award-winning Dutton Ranch, comprised of more than 80 small vineyards, each with its own characteristics. While that kind of diversity might seem daunting to some, to Dutton-Goldfield it is the key to crafting unique and characterful wines.

Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is an assemblage from vineyards chosen to showcase fruit, richness and great structure. Some vines are more than 30 years old, from the cool Green Valley vineyards of Mill Station, Sullivan, Mengle and Walker Hill, and contribute a citrus backbone and mineral notes to the wine. Grapes from a small block in a warmer valley provide notes of ripe tree fruit. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged on the lees in barrels, enhancing notes of ginger and nutmeg, rich buttercream and citrus. The finished wine shows the perfect tension between ripeness and elegance.

Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir offers the best from many vineyards: juicy berry fruit, fine tannins and balance. Grapes from Green Valley vineyards Bush, Campbell, Galante, Emerald Ridge, Silva, Hallberg, Goff, and Widdoes heighten the complexity and ensure fresh, bright notes from these cool sites. Grapes from Morelli Lane and Ruxton vineyards, high on Stoetz Ridge, offer warmer notes of ripe cherry. Fruit from each vineyard block is fermented separately to ensure the typicity of the sites is expressed and each lot is aged in French oak before blending. The wine is dense with red fruit, spice and florals with a refreshing lift on the finish.

Both wines are perfect expressions of the diversity of vineyard sites in Dutton Ranch and of Dutton-Goldfield’s dedication to showcasing a profound sense of place.

Dutton-Goldfield 2019 ‘Dutton Ranch’ Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Retail: $72.95 / btl

Dutton-Goldfield 2019 ‘Dutton Ranch’ Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Retail: $82.95 / btl 

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The Wines

Dutton-Goldfield 2019 ‘Dutton Ranch’ Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
92 points – Jeb Dunnuck,, July 2021
“The 2019 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch showed beautifully. It has a rich yet fresh, lively style that carries plenty of melon, tart pineapple, toasted green almonds, and hints of brioche. The Russian River Valley yielded numerous fresher, crisper, livelier Chardonnays in 2020, and this one delivers those characteristics in spades. It’s drinking nicely today yet unquestionably has 4-5 years of prime drinking ahead of it.”

Dutton-Goldfield 2019 ‘Dutton Ranch’ Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
94 points – Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast
“From a selection of stellar vineyard sites, including Campbell, Morelli Lane and Hallberg, this is an impressive expression of the appellation and vintage, bright and well-integrated in tangy red fruit. Earthy forest and peat notes provide the savory contrast that lasts on the palate, finishing silky smooth.”

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About Dutton-Goldfield

Dutton-Goldfield Winery began with a handshake in a vineyard in 1998, when longtime colleagues and friends Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield recognized a shared vision between them: to craft world-class wines that express the personalities of their cool-climate vineyards within the Russian River Valley — crisp, well-structured wines that display complexity, balance and intensity, inspired by Burgundy but with a desire to express their Californian roots. Together they make a range of stunning wines, with a focus on exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

They’re a pretty impressive team. Steve Dutton’s family owns and manages Dutton Ranch – a collection of non-contiguous vineyards that make them the largest vineyard owner in the Russian River Valley, with over 1,200 sustainably farmed acres (plus 300 acres of organically grown apples). In 1964 Warren Dutton, Steve’s dad, planted the first vineyards in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA (completely contained within RRV, but delineated for it’s notably cooler climate). Today, 75% of Dutton Ranch falls within the Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA, and the rest of the vineyards are in the slightly warmer Russian River Valley AVA. In total, this is unequivocally cool-climate winegrowing territory, perfectly suited to Pinot and Chardonnay. Small parcels of other aromatic varieties, including Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah are also grown.

The list of wineries bottling Dutton Ranch wines is a testament to the caliber of the vineyard operation — Kistler, Patz & Hall, Freestone, Hartford Court, Ramey, and many more. And while not every wine that Dutton-Goldfield makes comes from Dutton Ranch, you can bet that D-G gets prime selection of sites within the ranch.

Winemaker and co-proprietor, Dan Goldfield is an East Coast academic, outdoor enthusiast and mad cyclist. Dan’s love of wine led him to UC Davis to study winemaking, which allowed him to combine his PhD in Chemistry with a career connecting him to the land. Graduating in 1987 with an MS in Oenology while working at Robert Mondavi, he then became associate winemaker at Schramsberg and by 1993 Dan was winemaker at La Crema (before Jess Jackson owned it) and then Hartford Court. After buying La Crema and getting to know Dan, Jackson essentially built Hartford for Dan, having him design the winery and defining the cool-climate winemaking style. Today, that style has been refined and focused at Dutton-Goldfield, now a benchmark producer of small lot, single-vineyard Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, in an elegant style defined by moderate alcohol and site-expressive character.

The quality of these wines totally pays off – a range of stunning wines, very competitively priced. Dan is an almost perennial appearance on Wine & Spirit’s Top 100 Wineries of the World.

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Dutton-Goldfield is represented in Ontario by The Vine Agency.

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