Dutton Ranch Chardonnay was immediately identifiable as being special and superior to others. The wine has baked apple pie aromas and accentuates clean mellow fruit of gooseberry and citrus. This wine has a mineral complexity that the Russian River Valley appellation brings to chardonnay. It has richness and length in the palate that balance with the perfume and lemon citrus aromas.
In order to maximize quality, all grapes went direct to press as whole clusters. After pressing and settling, the juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation. Once dry and finished with malo-lactic fermentation, the lots were aged in barrel for ten months on the lees, with occasional stirring to increase richness and body. Of the twelve barrels selected, three were new French oak and the others were neutral, ranging in age from two to four years. For this blend, Vernou, Quintessence and Francois Freres cooperages were selected. The Dutton Ranch Chardonnay was assembled just prior to bottling, which took place on August 9th, 2013.
The 2012 vintage was one for the books in terms of ideal conditions. Moderate temperatures and weather conditions without rain or frost developed the fruit slowly and evenly. The Dutton Family maintains a good balance of fruit and leaf canopy on the vines which results in a healthy and robust crop. The grapes destined for the Dutton Ranch Chardonnay blend were harvested by hand on October 3rd, 2012.
The Dutton family has been growing grapes in Sonoma County — specifically the Russian River Valley — for generations. Their fruit is highly prized, as their knowledge of the land and meticulous farming have resulted in exceptional consistency and quality over the years. The grapes for this Chardonnay came exclusively from vineyards farmed by the Dutton family in the heart of the Russian River Valley, where the marine influence produces an intense fog layer that regularly covers the region during the growing season, creating a perfect microclimate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.