Dutton Estate is one of the more unsung, high-quality wineries in California’s Russian River area, and recently the operation made a bold move that’s highly unusual in these parts: They launched a cider, born from 200 acres of organic apple orchards in the region.
Today we look at a collection of five newly released wines and the cider, which is available exclusively in 12 oz cans.
2020 Dutton Estate Sauvignon Blanc Katie’s Cuvee – Grassy and lightly astringent, with sour grapefruit notes developing quickly, this ultra-bright sauv blanc is an instant palate-cleanser, fading from citrus peel into notes of honeydew melon within a few seconds on the tongue. The finish is short but clean, with a pinch of racy lemongrass. B+ / $27
2019 Dutton Estate Chardonnay Kyndall’s Reserve – Russian River chardonnay is commonly more overbearing than this fairly gossamer bottling, which melds classic notes of almond, gooseberry, and vanilla with a restrained body that never pours on unctuously woody or syrupy elements. The finish sees notes of lingering vanilla cream, with coconut cream notes hanging on even longer after the vanilla fades. Pleasant and easygoing and clearly crowd-pleasing. A- / $42
2019 Dutton Estate Pinot Noir Jewell Block – A racy little pinot (especially for the typically brooding Russian River region), there’s lots of acidity and a gentle, berry-driven sweetness here, with elements of tea leaf and cola well represented in the mix. Notes of milk chocolate begin to emerge with time in glass, the wine taking on a slight element of mint as well. Floral and vibrant on the finish, touched with tangerine peel notes, it’s an exuberant and immersive wine which takes you in a few different directions before ending back where it started, on a gentle note of fresh berries and cream, just hinting at orange blossoms. A- / $69
2018 Dutton Estate Syrah My Father’s Vineyard – Literally sourced from the Santa Rosa vineyard of Tracy Dutton’s father. This is an inky, iconic syrah with all the trimmings: tar, extracted currants and cherries, and a beefy core that gives the wine an intense savory quality. Lightly balsamic on the finish, with hints of dark chocolate and graphite. B+ / $58
2018 Dutton Estate Syrah Cherry Ridge Vineyard – A more well-rounded expression of Russian River syrah than the previous wine, still rich with currants and some spice, but less overtly savory throughout. Greener, more herbal notes pick up where that tarry, beefy elements in the MFV bottling leave off, winding their way to elements of dried raspberries, dusted with notes of Christmas spice. Fun stuff. A- / $58
Dutton Estate Hard Apple Cider – Considerably less fizzy than the typical apple cider you’ll find on the market today, this is a semi-sweet cider with an ample but not overwhelming sweetness to it. As it settles into its groove, the vanilla-laced apple notes veer more into pear territory, finishing on a slightly bittersweet note. Approachable but a little scattered; could use more tartness. 7.4% abv. B / $40 per 12-pack of 12-oz cans