Vinography Unboxed: Week of 8/11/19

bigstock-box-of-wine-on-the-plain-backg-26760620.jpgHello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week was a second installment of all Pinot and Cab all the time, with a second tranche of vineyard designated wines from reliable producer Dutton Goldfield. My favorite of the group was probably the Emerald Ridge Vineyard, which is always one of my favorites in their lineup for its great acidity and bright fruit. There was also a new (to me) addition to their lineup this vintage, which was the Docker Hill Vineyard from Mendocino County. Planted in 2010 with a variety of Pinot clones, this pretty vineyard sits at 1000 feet of elevation above the Mendocino coast outside the minuscule town of Comptche, population 159.

And just for fun, we’ve also got a wine this week representing the other half of the Dutton agricultural empire, Dutton Estate. Their Karmen Isabella Pinot is a slightly richer interpretation of the grape from the Dutton Estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley.

Before we move on to bigger wines, there’s also a Pinot entry from an unlikely place this week — Lake County. Known for its stark volcanic landscapes that bake in the summer heat, it’s not a place associated with Pinot, but that hasn’t stopped Steele wines from making their Writer’s Block Pinot, and it’s a credible effort, especially at the price point.

Moving on to Cabernet, the folks at Laurel Glen are in the midst of an initiative to get a bit more attention for their long history of making age-worthy Cabernet in the mountains above Sonoma, so they’ve been sending out samples of wines new and old. This week I opened a couple of current releases plus a 2009 library selection. The wines are classically structured and feature restrained use of oak, both of which make them quite appealing.

Less expensive Napa Cabernet seems like a contradiction in terms, and most of the time it is, but the Edge brand tries to keep it close to reasonable, which makes their efforts pretty good taste for the money.

Lastly, I’ve got a nice Bordeaux style blend (Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot) from Bolgheri, land of Ornellaia and Sassicaia. But this wine gets you the rich flavor of the region without the stratospheric price tags.

All these and more below.

2015 Dutton Goldfield “Redwood Ridge” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and raspberry fruit with a touch of herbs. In the mouth, herbs and raspberry fruit have a silky brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity. Faint grippy tannins hang around the edges of the mouth, while notes of dried herbs, citrus peel and raspberry linger through the finish. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $62. click to buy.

2016 Dutton Goldfield “Azaya Ranch Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Petaluma Gap, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry jam and cherries. In the mouth, bright raspberry and cranberry flavors have a nice zip to them thanks to excellent acidity. A touch of bitter herbs linger in the finish with a citrus peel note. Basically laurel_glen_bottle_estate_nv.jpgperceptible tannins. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $62. click to buy.

2016 Dutton Goldfield “Emerald Ridge Vineyard – Dutton Ranch” Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cranberries. In the mouth, cherry and cranberry fruit has a nice snappy brightness thanks to excellent acidity. Citrus peel notes make for a bright and faintly bitter finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $68. click to buy.

2016 Dutton Goldfield “Docker Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cranberry compote. In the mouth, cherry and cedar flavors mix with raspberry and cranberry notes. Lightly tacky tannins settle over notes of citrus peel and…

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