Dutton-Goldfield Freestone Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
The Freestone Hill Vineyard is farmed by the Dutton family. Located on a south-facing hillside overlooking the tiny town of Freestone, the vineyard lies just inside the southwest corner of the Russian River Valley AVA. The wine throws a complex set of aromas leading with blackberry, violet and a coriander-like aroma we refer to as "Freestone Spice." The vineyard is planted to Dijon clones and is the epitome of what we expect from a cold-climate Pinot Noir vineyard.
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 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, not Pinot noir. 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 Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.