September 16, 2005 Deep Pocket Pinot

John Haeger’s remarkable book North American Pinot Noir has served me well these last ten months. Many nights have found me dreaming of new pinot pleasures as I have closed my eyes on his well written tome. Dutton-Goldfield Winery was one producer that really quickened my heartbeat: a legendary Sonoma grower and pinot noir-making fanatic join forces in the Russian River Valley to create an eponymous winery. This is the stuff of legend!

Dutton Goldfield’s color was a deep plum-red showing some light brickish hues near the rim of the glass. This pinot’s nose was characterized by dark fruits like black raspberry and plum, and showed oak spice slightly above threshold. Although the palate was much fuller and finished with less acidity than expected, this Russian River Valley pinot elegantly offers power, soft tannin and good length. I was impressed with how well-integrated and seamless this wine was from start to finish.

Yet, I couldn’t help but think two things about Maurice Galante Vineyard Pinot Noir. One: that it was very expensive considering its quality (though very fine indeed it lacked real nuance and aromatic complexity). And two: that perhaps this juice would best serve as a blending component to “flesh-out” a leaner and more acidic vineyard source; sometimes the concept of single vineyard wines is more appealing than their reality.

Maurice Galante Vineyard

I closed my tasting notes opining that this was a “very good, elegant wine but not exceptional” and questioning whether it may become “…more interesting in a few years?”. I do suspect that it will indeed become more rewarding with time’s passing but sadly I am forced to panhandle for free samples (please don’t hesitate to contact me for mailing instructions). You see, I highly recommend this excellent pinot noir for those who aren’t “weak of wallet”, but for the rest of us I must recommend that our precious “special occasion” funds be invested in wines where we’re guaranteed more satisfying returns.

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