Dutton Goldfield Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 – USA
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 wines that express the personalities of their cool-climate vineyards, and which they’d enjoy drinking at their own dinner tables.
A fifth-generation farmer, Steve grew up with a love of driving tractors, and without any doubt about his future career. His father, Warren Dutton, had begun growing grapes in the western reaches of Russian River Valley in the mid-1960s, at a time when most people thought the area was too cool to grow fruit for quality still wine. Steve started working with his father when he was five years old, and joined Dutton Ranch full-time in 1987. Today, along with his mother and brother, he manages the family business, which has grown from its original 35-acre home shop vineyard to over 80 separate vineyards comprising more than 1,000 acres throughout western Russian River Valley.
After graduating from Boston’s Brandeis University, Dan headed west to begin a career in research chemistry, with a few detours for skiing and hiking on the way. Always an outdoor enthusiast, the life of lab work was quickly replaced with a dream of winemaking when his brother turned him on to the 1969 Burgundies. Dan entered the University of California at Davis, graduating with an M.S. in Enology in 1986. He gained knowledge on the job with stints at Robert Mondavi Winery and Schramsberg as well as winemaking in Portugal for two years. He found his passion in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, first as the winemaker at the Burgundian-focused La Crema Winery, and then at Hartford Court, which was created under his direction. Dan’s appreciation for the beauty of the extraordinary landscape around our home is reflected in his winemaking.
97 – Wine Enthusiast 92 – Burghound 91 – Connoisseurs Guide
Pinot Noir fans appreciate exotic vineyard sites and eccentric vineyard owners. Mark Pasternak and his Devil’s Gulch vineyard fit the bill on both counts. Located on a steep, convoluted hillside adjacent to the Point Reyes Peninsula in Western Marin County, Devil’s Gulch is a pioneering planting. Mark lives on the property with his family and is truly passionate (some would say obsessive) about increasing the fame of Marin County as a viticultural area. He is dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices and minimal chemical use. The ranch combines steep terraces (up to 60% grade), shallow soil, the harsh climate of the Marin coast, protected exposures, and well-chosen Dijon clonal selections to produce a small crop of unique fruit. The blustery spring weather of Marin gives us poor set and an extremely small crop of tiny berries, while the reliable late fall weather promotes great phenolic maturity and wild fruit intensity in the wine. For us, wine is all about personality, and Devil’s Gulch is one of our favorite examples of that.
The fruit was hand sorted and destemmed into small open top fermenters, then cold-soaked for 5 days in order to gently extract spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. We are particularly gentle on the Devil’s Gulch in order to produce silky wine from the inherently high tannin tiny berries. The incoming fruit was split into two lots; one from the terraces, one from the upper slope vary fermentation techniques according to the nature of each particular area. The final blend was assembled from our favorite barrels in each lot in Spring 2016. For this wine, the Seguin Moreau Icone barrels bring out its natural earthiness, and Taransaud fills in an underlying richness. We choose Icone as well for the one year-old barrels to play up the mushroom quality of the wine even more. The wine aged for another year before being bottled in February 2017.