Review: Wines and Cider of Dutton Estate, Late 2023 Releases

Review: Wines and Cider of Dutton Estate, Late 2023 Releases

Dutton Estate recently dropped two collections of wines, and we’re combining them all into this one mega-review that spans 11 bottlings — plus the latest release of Dutton’s canned apple cider. Let’s jump right in to the lineup!

2022 Dutton Estate Chardonnay Morelli Lane Vineyard – Incredibly fruit-forward, melding melon and tropical notes with elements of vanilla custard, tempering the fruit with a lush creaminess. A bright lemon note emerges later in the game, adding a cleansing quality to what could have otherwise become a brooding, doughy experience. Au contraire, the conclusion is quite summery and downright effusive, the lightest hint of salinity adding a chef’s touch to a world-class experience on the finish. One of the best California chardonnays I’ve had in a long while. A / $65

2022 Dutton Estate Chardonnay Dutton Palms Vineyard – A bittersweet, melon-heavy expression of chardonnay, featuring complementary but understated notes of lemon, guava, and almond. There’s a tough, almost tannic edge to the wine that makes for quite the drying experience on the finish, showing off notes of mineral-laden slate and a bit of saline character. Toasted oak notes linger on the fade-out, further tempering the fruit elements, though that guava note is tenacious. B+ / $51

2022 Dutton Estate Chardonnay Kyndall’s Reserve – Rather on the savory side, this chardonnay immediately features dusky notes of nougat and walnut oil, heading into an almond- and coconut-heavy quality that builds over time. There’s room on the finish for more effusive notes of baked apple and vanilla, but the doughy, cookie-like qualities of the wine invariably win out. Toasty oak and a bit of turned earth linger on the long finish. B+ / $47

2022 Dutton Estate Chardonnay Warren’s Collection – Creamy and full of fruit, heavy on baked apples and vanilla, this is Sonoma at its most earnest, a buttery apple pie in a glass, ringed with touches of lemon and some salinity. A slight pistachio note on the finish gives the wine a nutty edge, but only just so. It may be heavy with fruit, but it’s still cracking with crispness. A- / $58

2021 Dutton Estate Pinot Noir La Familia – Iconic and beautiful from the moment it hits the glass. Notes of cola and licorice inform a core of blackberry and a touch of chocolate. The wine coalesces as it develops on the palate, leaning in to a gentle earthiness that, with time in glass, perks up with notes of menthol and evergreen notes, rosemary on the finish. Intense with flavor yet elegant and refined, with a gentle, raspberry-fueled sweetness on the finish, this is a classic, iconic expression of the very best that the Russian River has to offer. A / $75

2022 Dutton Estate Pinot Noir Karmen Isabella – A slightly dusky, blackberry-laced pinot noir, laden with notes of tea leaf and cola syrup, with a lightly sweet quality that quickly builds in glass. Varying notes of pistachio, allspice, and vanilla emerge  quickly, leading to a modest milk chocolate quality on the finish. Vaguely Christmassy on the finish, with echoes of pine needles. Fairly soft in body — the wine could use more acidity — but otherwise solid for the winter season. B+ / $50

2022 Dutton Estate Pinot Noir Green Valley Girls – A rounded and approachable pinot noir, slightly sweet raspberry notes dominating alongside mild elements of tea leaf and some green herbal notes — thyme and rosemary — though these are gentle and well-integrated into the more fruit-forward core. Pretty florals emerge with time in glass and a bit of warmth above cellar temperature, but those raspberry elements dominate for the long haul. An excellent choice for a more fruit-driven experience. A- / $85

2021 Dutton Estate Pinot Noir Thomas Road Vineyard – Another well-balanced but sweet-leaning pinot noir, with a slightly charry note of toasted brown sugar up top, quickly leaning into bright cherry and raspberry. This fruit bomb is followed by touches of olive and evergreen — perhaps some rosemary late in the game. The fruit endures throughout the entirety of the experience, maintaining a strong line of fresh juiciness well into the lengthy finish. Lip-smacking and downright fun to drink, it’s tough to put down. A / $70

2021 Dutton Estate Pinot Noir Manzana Vineyard – A balanced wine, blending cherry and raspberry notes with effusive notes of cola, tea leaf, and some bay leaf. Bright and fruit-forward without being jammy, it segues into light touches of vanilla and strawberry later in the game, hinting at blueberry and just a pinch of peppery earth on the finish. This isn’t an overly complex wine, but its focus is on all the right places. A- / $67

2021 Dutton Estate Syrah My Father’s Vineyard – As always, this is an aggressive syrah — though it fortunately doesn’t push things over the edge, complementing an appropriately beefy, almost smoky core with dark notes of currants, plums, and black cherries. While our last encounter with this wine, the 2018 vintage, was met with a slight balsamic end, here we find a softer way out which might be more agreeable to drinkers pairing this wine with red meat or other hearty fare. Touches of coffee linger. B+ / $58

2021 Dutton Estate Syrah Cherry Ridge Vineyard – Here’s a more balanced, approachable take on syrah, big with cherry notes — perhaps telegraphed to me by the name of the vineyard. Brightly sweet and effusive — never meaty and brooding like most syrahs — it cuts a more merlot-like profile with elements of vanilla and mixed florals, moving into a light baking spice character later in the game. It’s hearty in body yet singlemindedly pretty, through and through, perhaps the least syrah-like syrah I’ve had in years. Not a bad thing, to be honest. A- / $58

Dutton Estate Hard Apple Cider (2023) – I don’t expect anything much has changed with this product since last year; again it is semi-sweet, with a modest sour quality that evokes pears over apples, touched with grapefruit notes. Green tea and a little lemon zest give the finish some zip. I like it a bit better today, but maybe it’s just growing on me. 7.4% abv. B+ / $40 per 12-pack of 12-oz cans

2022 Dutton Estate Chardonnay Warren's Collection




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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