Wine of the week: Dutton-Goldfield, 2019 Chileno Valley Vineyard, Petaluma Gap Riesling
As we gradually emerge from the pandemic, the effect of months of dining restrictions and stay-home orders will become apparent. Winemaker Dan Goldfield is already seeing the impact.
“The pandemic has solidified even more the control by huge entities with no ties to the places that they affect,” said Goldfield, winemaker/partner of Sebastopol’s Dutton-Goldfield Winery. “Many of our best restaurant partners are gone, and there are uncertainties facing everyone.”
Goldfield is behind The Press Democrat’s wine of the week winner — the Dutton-Goldfield, 2019 Chileno Valley Vineyard, Petaluma Gap Riesling, 12.5%, $30. It’s a floral riesling, with aromas of honeysuckle and white flowers. On the palate, notes of apricot and peach unfold. This riesling is buoyed with crisp acidity and has a zesty, citrusy finish. It’s impressive and extremely well-crafted.
Other tasty exotic whites include Dry Creek Vineyard, 2020 Clarksburg, Dry Chenin Blanc, 12%, $16; Gundlach Bundschu, 2020 Sonoma Coast Gewurztraminer, 13.5%, $25; Husch, 2020, Mendocino Chenin Blanc, 13.2%, $16; and Fetzer, 2019 California Gewurztraminer, 12%, $11.
As for the Dutton-Goldfield riesling, Goldfield said he’s shooting for a “super-fresh, complex, dry, expressive wine that’s great with food.”
For many, the winemaker said, riesling is an enigma.
“Folks often assume that riesling will be sweet, but that is of course not the case,” he said.
“I’m a great lover of Austrian rieslings, which are almost always bone-dry like this one. Many people consider riesling the varietal that is most transparent back to its vineyard source. And great riesling ages tremendously well. This wine will go a long time, certainly 10 years, or likely quite a bit more, from vintage date.”
Producing riesling, Goldfield said, is a pleasure because he’s a big fan of the varietal.
“I love it,” he said. “I’m careful and I look carefully into how other people I admire ply the craft and learn what I can from it.”
Becoming a winemaker was a calling Goldfield said he couldn’t resist.
“I’m hardwired to be obsessive — a curse and a blessing — and I love to learn, research and experiment,” he said. “I’m a hedonist and I love the sensual diversity of so many aspects of the craft and product. ... I love complexity and unsolvable, but intuitive, matrices and I love and admire craftsmanship in general.”
Goldfield, 64, graduated from Brandeis University with the double major of chemistry and philosophy in 1979. He earned a master’s degree in viticulture and enology at UC Davis in 1985.
The vintner said the pandemic hasn’t brought to light any epiphanies about winemaking.
“We’re always nimble,” he said. “The challenges are in the business world, not the craft of making wine.”
Responding to the whims of Mother Nature has been their forte, Goldfield said.
“Our practices are always flexible according to immediate need and feedback,” he said. “The pandemic and fires certainly reinforced that core outlook. Awareness and nonattachment to ‘what we’ve always done’ has always been a basic value in our winemaking and management.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-521-5310.
Wine, The Press Democrat
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