Dan Goldfield’s Scintillating Small-Yield Chardonnay
In the hands of great Sonoma Chardonnay producers — like Steve Kistler, James Hall, and Dan Goldfield — the 2015 vintage offered up a “brilliant recipe for juicy, high intensity, electrifyingly mineral Chardonnay,” according to our Chief Wine Officer, Matt Deller. None more so than the 2015 Dutton Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. At the heart of this release is fruit drawn from four of Steve Dutton’s most priceless holdings in the Russian River’s Green Valley sub-AVA, including the Rued vineyard that the Duttons like to call “Kistler Hill.” Why? The parcels are dry-farmed and planted with deep-rooted old clones, lending this Chardonnay its ripe lemon/citrus opulence, buffered by firm acidity. Due to the season’s severely trimmed crop, there are just 120 cases set aside for Wine Access. At the winery you’ll fork over $40. But on Wine Access — for one of the finest bottles ever produced off of Dutton Ranch, just $28.99 per bottle.
Two of Dutton Ranch Chardonnay’s biggest buyers are Goldfield and his friend Steve Kistler. Both men are fanatical about their fruit, handpicking their parcels and often paying by the acre, foregoing a potentially better by-the-ton deal. While they differ stylistically, the rich, high-toned, piercing Chardonnay flavors that lie at the core of each winemaker’s Dutton Ranch releases are clearly cut from the same cloth.
The 2015 growing season in Northern California yielded a phenomenally powerful and complex Dutton Goldfield Chardonnay, thanks to a historic low-yield harvest that saw production down 30 to 50 percent in some areas. Each lot brought into the winery was barrel-fermented, and Goldfield opted to stir lees twice per month, adding weight, density, and unctuousness. After 10 months aging in Seguin-Moreau barrels, this Chardonnay now in bottle boasts one of the most scintillating, Russian River Chardonnays we’ve seen from Dan since we first met 10 years ago.