Patz & Hall, Dutton Vineyard, Chardonnay 2018 (Sonoma, CA)
Producer Notes: The 2018 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is quintessential Russian River Valley. The wine opens with toasted almond, butter cookie and nutmeg aromas. Bone-dry and inviting, the palate is filled with Meyer lemon, passionfruit and orange blossom flavors. There’s a compelling lushness to the mid-palate that leads to a nice mineral quality on the finish. Once again, Dutton Ranch has delivered a wonderfully age-worthy wine that captures the charm and complexity of some of Sonoma County’s oldest Chardonnay vines.
Wine & Spirits, 94 Points: James Hall selects the fruit for this wine from 11 blocks farmed by the Dutton family. Most of the vines are older plantings of heritage clones and selections, a mix that seems to respond to a slow, spontaneous fermentation and development in French oak barrels (35 percent new). The 2018 builds to a savory and ornate chardonnay, a wine with traction that digs into scents of violets and game, jasmine and butterscotch, giving a sweet impression without any actual sweetness. There’s yellow and orange citrus fruit, but the main impression is earthy, with notes of lobster mushroom and lobster broth in a mineral finish. It’s floral, clean, intense wine, with stature and resistance to oxygen. Decant it for crab Louis, or cellar it for years.
Wine Enthusiast, 93 Points: Aromatic in a richness of caramelized brioche and baked lemon, the layers of flavor in this full-bodied, voluptuous wine follow suit, providing plenty of length and opulence. A buttery back note adds to the complex, appealing intensity.
Wine Advocate, 90 Points: The 2018 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch has aromas of red apple peel, white pepper and honeysuckle with notions of baker's yeast and spices. Medium-bodied, it has a good core of nutty fruits with a long, gently leesy finish.
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