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The Wine of the Week: 2014 Dutton-Goldfield, Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

Dutton Goldfield Dutton Ranch ChardonnayThe Wine of the Week: 2014 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

by Annette Tomei

Some readers of a certain age may still drink by the ABC rule of “Anything But Chardonnay”. Others may worship at the throne of Big Oaky California Chards. Still more may find good California Chardonnays prohibitively expensive, preferring to cast their lots on lower priced imports. If you fall into any of these categories, please consider this as a public service announcement encouraging you to take the chance, make the splurge (albeit a small one, in this case) and give this wine a try! I’m happy I did.

There’s Something Special About Sonoma

Sonoma County is geographically and agriculturally diverse: Coastline, mountains, lakes, rivers; cool and warm climates, foggy and bright – Sonoma’s got it. And, this agricultural region is made up of farms of all sorts from heirloom apples to “happy cows” – so much more than just vineyards. This is not Napa – they are a mountain range and a whole world apart.

Dutton Ranch is situated, primarily, in the Green Valley AVA in the coolest part of the Russian River Valley. A cooler climate means the fruit has more time to ripen without sacrificing the acidity that provides the backbone for the flavor, or over-ripening the sugars that determine the wines alcohol content – it’s all about balance.

About This Wine

I confess to being one of those who often avoid California Chardonnay for fear of “oak bombs” (I can smell them from the first raise of the glass). So, from my guarded first approach, I was not just relieved but intrigued. The pale yellow color was the first hint that I was safe from aggressive use of oak. The initial aromas of tangy citrus and tropical fruit lured me in. As the wine opened in the glass, aromas of creamy apple, shiso, ginger, and a soy-like salinity took hold.

This is a complex and nuanced wine with toasty woody notes, mouthwatering acidity, flavors of pear, pineapple, lemon meringue pie, and gingersnap, a round, soft mouthfeel, and a clean minerally finish. Try pairing it with cracked Dungeness crab picked with your fingers, served with a good baguette and lots of lemon and melted butter; or on the East Coast, a traditional lobster bake! Also, this is worthy of a well-made classic risotto with or without seared scallops. Think rich seafood, savory creaminess, and simple preparations – or just that great baguette and sweet butter!

The Verdict

Dutton-Goldfield is a well-respected producer of some of the most sought-after and consistently high rated wines in Sonoma. So, quality, finesse, and deliciousness are all but assured – that I loved this wine is not a surprise. That this wine is available for only $35/bottle is! Do try this wine – do take the time to enjoy it thoroughly – do keep an open mind to all new taste experiences, even if it’s something you wrote off years ago, it could surprise you.
Note: It seems the 2014 vintage is nearing the end of availability, but I’m sure the 2015 will be equally enjoyable.

My new mission…

to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

Annette is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com. She can be found at ChefAnnetteTomei.com.

Permission to Drink Bargain Wine—value wines the pros drink

amy reiley

Woman on Wine

with Amy Reiley

In my work as a wine writer, I’ve discovered that what most people are looking for in wine reviews isn’t florid descriptions of famous, impossible to find or at least, impossible to afford bottlings. What most people seek is permission to drink bargain wine and suggestions of bargains they’ll want to discover. Now, when I use the word “bargain,” I’m not talking about “cheap” wines—although I’ll gladly give you permission to drink any cheap wine you enjoy! Bargain wines are wines that represent great value for money. Read more

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon–discovering Cab from the other hemisphere

The Wine of the Week: 2015 Ventisquero Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

by Annette Tomei

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from Ventisquero | EatSomethingSexy.com2015 Ventisquero, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Maipo Valley, Chile

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon – neither snobby nor unusual, so how does it fit into my new mission? Well, it’s personal – for years I lived in Napa Valley, the heart of Cab Country. I worked in some of the best wineries, producing some of the world’s most sought-after Cabs. When it was over, so was my palate for this much-loved grape (and red wine, in general). In recent months, my interest in reds has returned and what better grape to begin the journey with than the king – Cabernet Sauvignon. Read more

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Chateau Frank Brut–a NY Sparkling Wine you need to know

The Wine of the Week: 2010 Chateau Frank Brut

by Annette Tomei

Why you should try Chateau Frank Brut | EatSomethingSexy.com2010 Dr Konstantin Frank, Chateau Frank Brut, Finger Lakes Sparkling Wine

I recently attended an event featuring some of the top beverage producers from the state of New York (TasteNY). In the coming months, you’ll probably see at least a couple of the delicious treats I had the pleasure of tasting at this event. I’m starting with the one that surprised me most – it’s not unusual to find fine ciders, beers, and spirits coming from the Empire State, but bubbles? This is a first for me! Read more

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Union Wine Co., Underwood Rosé in a Can

The Wine of the Week: Underwood Rosé

by Annette Tomei

My new mission…

to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

NV, Union Wine Co., Underwood Rosé Wine in a Can, Oregon

Underwood Rosé in a canIt’s summer where I am – time to hit the beach/park/pool. And also time to find the best beverage to transport, chill, and dispose of (in an environmentally-considerate manner) easily.

It’s a Beer – It’s a Cider – It’s a Wine?

It seems like the can is the new thing in casual wine, and casual is the new thing in wine. Of course, it fits perfectly into your old college “beer cozy” or a tote bag. It requires no special tools, and comes in a single-serving portion… sort of. Please note: 375 ml is the same as a fancier half bottle (2-3 portions), and 12% ABV is about twice the alcohol content of most beverages in similar containers. So, please enjoy responsibly.

So, How Does it Taste

I tasted this wine both from a glass and straight from the can. Though not sparkling, it has some pleasant, mild effervescence. Initial aromas of pink grapefruit, nectarines, and watermelon carry through on the palate. This wine has plenty of acidity, but it was more creamy than mouthwatering. When tasting from a glass, the flavor was powerful up front but finished quickly with a bone-dry, hollow white pepper aroma. Tasting from the can, the fruit flavors were riper and more consistent, and lasted through the juicy finish. Lesson learned: it comes in its own sippy-cup, why dirty a glass?

This wine will pair nicely with the easy-going foods you will most likely see in similar surroundings – guacamole, hummus, kale salads, fresh goat cheeses, charcuterie, and other nibbles.

The Verdict

For a summer refresher, it’s good. At $7/can, I would much rather buy the same wine in bottle form – Union Wine Company also offers Underwood Oregon Rosé, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris for approximately $14/750 ml bottle. Also available in cans: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, The Bubbles, and Rosé Bubbles.

Annette is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com. She can be found at ChefAnnetteTomei.com