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Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2008
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.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.