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Dutton-Goldfield Devil's Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
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 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. Dan has been crafting wines sourced from Devil's Gulch fruit since the early 1990s.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the mainstays of the Dutton-Goldfield production. Using fruit from carefully chosen vineyards, Dan Goldfield produces wine that reflects the natural tendencies of the area: crisp, well-structured wines that display the complexity, balance and intensity that the partners believe are key to world-class wines.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery's first releases were a Dutton Ranch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the 1998 vintage. Today Dan and Steve continue to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Dutton Ranch plantings, numerous vineyard-designated wines, as well as small lots of old vine Zinfandel and hillside Syrah. The Dutton-Goldfield wines are crafted using traditional techniques such as barrel and malolactic fermentation for the Chardonnay, and open top fermentation for the Pinot Noir.
The winery is a partnership of friends, colleagues, neighbors and families. The wines reflect this spectacular part of Northern California where the grapes are grown, the superb quality of fruit from perfectly placed and planted vineyards, and the work of an appreciative winemaker.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.