2018 Dutton Palms Chardonnay
Dutton Ranch farms more than 80 separate vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Planted in 1980, the Dutton Palms Vineyard surrounds. The Wente clone is trellised to a modified version of Geneva Double Curtain (GDC.) The hills & valley floor of the vineyard consist of the traditional sandy loam Goldridge soil that is most prominent in the Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley appellations. Joe & Tracy’s home vineyard at “Dutton Palms” produces wine with tropical notes interlaced with green apple and citrus fruits. The vines are planted in sandy loam Goldridge soil allowing for excellent drainage from this hilltop vineyard. The vineyard is certified Sonoma County Sustainably-Farmed and Fish-Friendly. It is dry-farmed and historically produces grapes of consistent character.
This Chardonnay hands down is one of the most challenging wines that I make here. The only instruction given to me every year is to make Dutton Palms the way Tracy likes it. No pressure, thank you. After tasting with Tracy over the last few years I have a better sense of what she like to drink. Dutton Palms is crafted with 100% barrel fermentation, 45% new French Oak. Although the oak component plays a role in the wine, I believe its the firm acid that provides the balance and structure. Green Valley in known for its complexity in Chardonnay. Dutton Palms takes this complexity and gives it foucus. A Chardonnay for Tracy and all of us to enjoy.
The fruit for this wine, like all Dutton Estate wines, was harvested by hand at night to preserve the range of flavors. Whole clusters of grapes were hand sorted and placed in the in gentle bladder press. The clusters were pressed at approximately 0.8 bar. The remaining juice in these Dutton Palms grapes go to our Kyndalls Reserve. The collected juice was cold settled in tank and racked off the gross lees back to tank. Fermentation started and nearly completed in tank to preserve the range of delicate and complex flavors. A specialized yeast strain was employed for a cool and steady fermentation. The wine was transferred to barrel to ferment dry and balance the palate given the inherently high acids of our cool location. The cooper selected for the Dutton Palms gives the wine more texture. Francois Freres is known for how well the oak integrates with the wine, lifting the fruit while promoting flavors of caramel and molasses. Malolactic Fermentation completed in barrel to integrate the flavors and textures. Aging continued for 10 months in barrel with 60% Neutral and 40% New Oak. Our aim with this wine is to preserve the concentrated fruit of this Old Vine Chard all within a youthful California style.
Aromas of fragrant pears, ripe Golden Delicious apples, with subtle melon and quince, lightly toasted bread and hints of French oak fill the nose. Dynamic fruit fills the mouth; there is a Granny Smith like structure with crunchy pear fruit and a mineral edge. Crisp, zingy apple flavors permeate the finish with a lingering pear, lime like citrus spice and a touch of Jolly Roger notes that glow. An intriguing wine that beckons for another glass to discover all of the details.