The Wine That Brought a Master Out of Retirement
The 2014 Dutton Estate Kyndall’s Reserve Chardonnay was the kind of bottle the brilliant winemaker Terry Adams wanted to make when he decided to delay his retirement. In his 25 years running the show at Sonoma-Cutrer, Adams helped engineer the birth and ascent of Sonoma’s most famous label. But the opportunity to craft small-batch wines from Dutton Ranch’s hallowed vineyards — where Kistler, Dutton-Goldfield, and Patz & Hall have made some of their highest-rated releases — was too tempting to pass on.
Located in the coolest area of the Russian River Valley AVA, Dutton Ranch is made up of 1,500 undulating hillside acres, divided into more than 50 discontiguous parcels. Year after year, the fruit grown on this fine sandy loam has attracted Sonoma’s world-class winemakers like Steve Kistler and James Hall, who have racked up multiple 96- and 95-point Chardonnays from Robert Parker employing the Ranch’s exquisite berries.
For this release, Adams picked from his favorite estate Ranch sites, including Vine Hill Ridge Vineyard, planted to Robert Young Clone, and Dutton Palms and Mills Sta. Rd., planted with Wente clone. Featuring dry, mild summer months and cool nights, 2014 offered picture-perfect conditions, lending this top-flight Chardonnay its ripe citrus fruit core and steely acid backbone.
“I thought about how much fun it would be to make just a few thousand cases per year, instead of hundreds of thousands,” says Adams, of his decision to join forces with Dutton Estate. A personal connection helped too. Joe and Tracy Dutton, Dutton Estate’s founders, were the son and daughter-in-law of Adams’ old friend Warren Dutton, whose work with Dutton Ranch made him Sonoma’s most renowned grape grower.