The Donum Estate is a top-tier producer in California’s Carneros region, and two of its signature 2018 bottlings have arrived. The winery has a significant and complex collection of single vineyard and single appellation bottlings — including a vertical collection bottled in homage of Ai Weiwei, who was commissioned to create a number of large-scale sculptures on Donum’s property. (Maybe someday you’ll be able to return to see them in person.)
Today we look at two “Year of the Dog” bottlings from the winery’s Carneros collection.
2018 Donum Chardonnay Carneros “Year of the Dog” – A somewhat restrained take on the California chardonnay style, this wine has immediate notes of grapefruit, lemon, and green apple, all offering much more acidity than one usually finds in an oak barrel-aged chardonnay. The wine crisps up as it develops on the palate and the fruit comes together leading to a lush and zippy finish that hints at nougat and coconut, the barrel finally showing its face, if only a little. Nothing not to like here. A / $65
2018 Donum Pinot Noir Carneros “Year of the Dog” – Austere, with notes of dried blackberries, black cherries, and a vein of vanilla running through all of it. It’s spicy on the back end, with allspice and clove notes, and lightly sweetened with a vague agave character that gives it a spicy but lightly vegetal finish. The wine finds balance with its gentle tannins and mildly bitter finish, giving the fruit an escape valve that lets it blossom with lingering notes of tobacco and cola. A- / $85