The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 06 Wine

The Dozen – California Excitement

Covid lockdowns, wildfires, drought - yet the wineries are excited as the world reopens.


The other day I received a press release for the Premiere Napa Valley auction that began, “Napa Valley is humming with excitement as the wine community gets ready to welcome back and reconnect with trade partners around the globe.” The auction begins this first week of June.

But the excitement is not just Napa’s. Although they’ve been plagued by wildfires, a long-lasting drought and Covid-induced tasting-room lockdowns, winemakers across California are optimistic and excited.

We are, too, especially about these new arrivals from around the North Coast.

2019 Jamieson Ranch “Silver Spur” Lake County Sauvignon Blanc ($25). Nice, light-bodied with good herbal and citrus flavors and a little floral lift at the end.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Chileno Valley” Petaluma Gap Riesling ($30). This remains one of California’s better Rieslings – tart and almost gamey with hints of the variety’s oiliness and a very crisp finish.

2020 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch Shop Block” Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Blanc ($30).  A light-ish wine for such a big name – tart but slightly creamy fruitiness and some finishing notes of pear.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($35). Classic RRV Chard with rounded, mellow fruitiness of pears, apples, and a nicely toasted finish.

2020 Ram’s Gate Carneros Pinot Blanc ($38).  More character than most PBs – tart, steely minerality, and a very fresh finish.

2020 Ram’s Gate Sonoma Carneros Sauvignon Blanc ($38). Lean and nicely tart with green fruit and lime notes.

2016 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch/Cherry Ridge” Russian River Syrah ($48).  It opens slowly and, at first, seems more like a Pinot Noir, but on decanting, the rooty Pinot flavors morph into earthier Syrah notes.

2018 Newton Vineyard Napa Valley Chardonnay ($51). Unfiltered, the wine has classic Chardonnay aromas with flavors of apples and stone fruits lying on moderate toast. Good minerality and acidity—a very satisfying pour.

2020 Ram’s Gate Sonoma Coast Rosé ($28). Delightful – crisp with strawberry and citrus flavors, a light body, yet long on the palate.

2020 Dutton-Goldfield North Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir ($30). Lean and well-structured, with crisp, fresh strawberry flavors that linger on the palate.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($38).  Lots of signature Pinot flavors – Luxardo cherries, cola, rootiness, all spread across a big body with a rich finish.

2018 Cliff Lede Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon ($75). A very seductive red – tightly wound out of the bottle with the sweet fruitiness of dried cherries and strawberries, a few savory notes, great finishing acidity, and tannins—one to age.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

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Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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