The small town of Sebastopol was once a dominant apple-growing region and I have heard people moan, groan and complain about a lot of the orchards being torn up and replaced with vineyards. But the fact is you can’t really make a dime selling apples and it is prime real estate for growing some of California’s best Pinot Noir.
I visited recently revisited the Russian River Valley during the Memorial Day weekend and tasted at two wineries, Twomey Cellars and Arista Winery. This past weekend I decided to return and check out two more - Dutton Estate Winery and Fog Crest Vineyards.
The Winery and Vineyards
Dutton Estate Winery was founded by Joe and Tracy Dutton in 1995. Both sides of the family have an agricultural heritage in Sonoma County. In fact, The Dutton family has been farming in Sonoma County for five generations and Tracy’s great-grandparents began farming apples in Sebastopol in the 1920’s. In 1964 Dutton Ranch was founded in Joe’s father Warren Dutt and today it farms 1150 acres of grapes and 150 acres of apples, all within the Green Valley-Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. Joe and his brother Steve manage the vineyards at Dutton Ranch while Tracy manages the winery. Since 2002 Mat Gustafson has been the winemaker and he also creates those released under the Sebastopol Vineyards label as well. The also sell their grapes to numerous well-known and highly respected wineries including Duckhorn, Patz & Hall, Walt Wines, Kistler Vineyards, Hess Collection, Ernst Vineyards, Heitz Vineyard, B Cellars, Girard Winery, La Rochelle Winery, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards and many others.
The tasting room is located within a lovely house surrounded by beautiful gardens. You can enjoy tasting their wines at the wine bar or on one of the picnic tables that are surrounded by a picket fence overlooking the vineyards.
2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Blushing Sisters
This is a clear pink wine with moderate intensity and medium viscosity. On the nose it is clean with moderate- intense aromas of strawberries, cranberries and subtle notes of dried roses. On the palate it is dry with medium+ acid, medium body, and moderate complexity with lingering spicy notes on the finish. This wine sells for $15.95 per 375 ml bottle.
2012 Dutton Palms Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Dutton Palms Vineyard, planted in 1991, is east facing and lies within the coolest part of the Green Valley. The hills and valley floor of Dutton Palms Vineyard consist of the traditional sandy loam Gold Ridge Soil, which is most prominent in the Green Valley and Russian River appellations. Dutton Palms is planted from the Chardonnay clone Warren Dutton used in 1967 to plant the original “Shop Block” Chardonnay vineyard at Dutton Ranch (Dutton Clone).
This is a clear white wine, straw in color with moderate intensity and medium+ viscosity. On the nose it is clean with medium intense aromas of apples, pears and subtle lemon-lime notes and on the palate it has additional notes of peach and a hint of pie crust. It is dry with a medium+ acidity, it is medium bodied with medium+ alcohol and a long finish. This wine sells for $40 per bottle.
2012 Kyndall’s Reserve Chardonnay
This is a clear white wine, straw in color with moderate intensity and medium+ viscosity. On the nose it is clean with medium intense aromas of baked apple, canned pears, peaches and minor tropical notes followed by subtle notes of cinnamon, cardamom, a hint of butter, caramel and marshmallow. It is dry with a medium+ acidity, it is medium bodied with medium+ alcohol and a long finish. This is more of a “California style” Chardonnay than the previous wine but it is well balanced and not overly oaky. This wine sells for $40 per bottle.
2011 Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir
This is a clear red wine, bright ruby at the core to pink at the rim with moderate+ intensity and medium viscosity. On the nose it has moderate aromas of fresh strawberries and cranberries with a hint of smoke and a touch of spice with additional notes of clove and cola on the palate. It is dry but fruit forward with medium+ acidity, medium body and a medium+ length finish. This wine sells for $40 per bottle.
2011 Manzana Vineyard Pinot Noir
The Manzana Vineyard is located next to the Dutton Palms Chardonnay Vineyard, located in the heart of the Green Valley. Manzana’s hillside vineyard is east facing, which is an optimal location for growing Pinot Noir. Planted to clone Dijon 828 in 2001, this vineyard produces wine of red fruits with a bold luscious mouth-feel. The vines planted in the Gold Ridge type soil historically produce wines of this consistent character.
This is a clear red wine, ruby at the core to pink at the rim with moderate+ intensity and medium viscosity. On the nose it has moderate aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and rhubarb followed by notes of clove, pepper and cola. It is dry but more intense and concentrated fruit than the previous wine, it has medium+ acidity, medium body and a long finish. I brought a bottle of this wine home for $47.
To visit or for more information:
Dutton Estate Winery
8757 Green Valley Rd
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Phone: 707- 829-9463