The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 11

The Dozen – Going Horizontal

Drinking through Dutton-Goldfield's vineyard designates + a quintet of Chiantis.


Each year I look forward to a moderate helping of Dutton-Goldfield’s array of vineyard-designated wines, Pinot Noirs, especially, and Chardonnays from Marin to Mendocino and points in between. Sometimes I have tasted them all at once, teasing out what I see to be the distinctions of each. At other times, I have enjoyed them individually over a period of days.

They remind me of the early days of California vineyard-designated wines when a young Richard Arrowood made a batch of vineyard-designated Chards at Chateau St. Jean, including a “Dutton Ranch.” Retailers, used to one variety per winery, agonized over how many slots of shelf space they could afford to allot to St. Jean.

After we make our way through the D-Gs, we have another type of horizontality with three 2019 Badia a Coltibuono Chiantis at different “quality” classifications, followed by a 2017 CCR (no, not the musical CCR) and an even older 2015 IGT.

Wines to drink, wines to think about.  (Yes, there are 13, not 12, but who’s counting?)

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Devil’s Gulch” Marin County Chardonnay ($55). Lean and assertive, but pleasantly so, with an eau-de-vie fruitiness and a good, metallic minerality in the undertones.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Rued” Green Valley of Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($55). Bright, golden fruitiness with lots of underlying minerality and a solid structure.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Azaya Ranch” Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir ($65). Ripe raspberry fruit, a little spicy, mildly tannic, full-bodied, but with a crisp finish.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Angel Camp” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($74). A satisfying, complex Pinot that is soft on the palate but intense in the finish with a touch of tanginess, lots of dusty tannins, and a hint of savoriness.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Docker Hill” Mendocino County Pinot Noir ($74). Lively grape and dark cherry flavors with a nice hint of balsamic – full-bodied and fresh-fruity without being too juicy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Fox Den” Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($74). Of the Pinots, this one is most tightly wound, so decant it first.  Dark cherries on the palate with a  crisp finish.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “McDougall” Fort-Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir ($74). Sweet-like fruitiness with very ripe cherry flavors, their brightness properly muted with a darker-fruit finish.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Deviate” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($78). A moderately lean wine – always pleasant in a ripe Pinot – with a touch of spiciness and much of the fruit concentrated in the finish.

2019 Badia a Coltibuono “Cultusboni Cetamura” Chianti ($11). An excellent entry-level Chianti – pretty fruit with a raspy Sangiovese finish.

2019 Badia a Coltibuono “Cultusboni RS” Chianti Classico ($16). Straightforward with light cherry fruit, good balance, light tannins.

2019 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($22). Very engaging, classic Sangio with fresh fruitiness moderated by appetite-inducing acids and tannins. (Wine should always be a matter of preferences, and I prefer this style to the more-sophisticated one that follows.)

2017 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva ($36). An elegant but mild and lightly rounded red with a crisp finish.

2015 Badia a Coltibuono “Sangioveto” Toscano. Very satisfying wine with great depth of flavors – rounder and fuller, more tangy than raspy, with well-integrated oak.

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.

Photo credit: Dutton-Goldfield Docker Hill Vineyard

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