Wine of the Week: Dutton-Goldfield, 2016 Deviate, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Pinot noir requires pampering as if it were royalty. There are so many things that can upset the crown.
“Obsession suits pinot production, even when the best choice is so often to do nothing,” explained Dan Goldfield, partner/winemaker of Sebastopol’s Dutton-Goldfield Winery. “It knows you’re thinking about it.”
Goldfield and his self-proclaimed pinot mania is behind our wine of the week winner — the Dutton-Goldfield, 2016 Deviate, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir at $72. This pinot is a standout because of its generous fruit and savory notes. It has impressive aromas and flavors of currant, boysenberry and sandalwood. Balanced, this pinot has crisp acid and a lingering finish. The price is reasonable for this high-quality, class-act pinot.
Other high-scoring pinots, at a range of price points, include Kosta Browne, 2017 Gap’s Crown Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, $165; River Road Stephanie’s Cuvee, 2017 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, $30; Migration, 2017 Drum Canyon Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, $70 and Tongue Dancer, 2018 Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, $49.
As for the Dutton-Goldfield pinot, the winemaker said he likes to craft the wines he likes to drink.
“It’s my rudder: food-friendly, moderate alcohol, good acidity, structure, balance,” Goldfield said. “Wines to pair and play well with others and that you want to drink the whole bottle. Like Joni Mitchell says, ‘I could drink a case of you darling, and I would still be on my feet.’ ”
What happened behind the scenes to make this pinot a standout was the selection of vineyard sites, the winemaker explained.
“This pinot is a blend from a big, burly vineyard in the Annapolis area of the Sonoma Coast and a silkier, classic Green Valley vineyard near Graton,” Goldfield said. “It’s our only high-end blend and just came about in 2013 when our associate winemaker and I were playing around with lots we love. So the fact that it’s a blend from two vineyards makes it different, and the serendipitous, spontaneous creation of it was a fun thing.”
Goldfield, 63, double majored in chemistry and philosophy at Brandeis University, graduating in 1979. He later completed his master’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis in 1985.
“When I was in college in Boston in the 1970s, the drinking age was 18,” the winemaker said. “My big brother (seven years older than me) turned me on to Burgundies during that time and I was enchanted. I bought my first copy of Hugh Johnson’s ’World Atlas of Wine’ and I would spend lots of time just looking at the topo maps and imagining what different wine regions looked like.”
Goldfield soon realized he was wellsuited to winemaking because of his character traits.
“I’m a hedonistic, scientific/mathematical, obsessive, hyperactive and, some would say, overly sensitive to my environment by nature,” he explained. “I love the diversity of endeavor that winemaking requires and the intersection of land, weather, farming, culture, cycles and infinite variables that winemaking connects me to. Like any pursuit and life in general, control is an illusion. But sincere and all-in effort are greatly rewarded.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at email@example.com or 707-521-5310.