Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.
This week offered a bit of a short stack of Sonoma wines, ranging from some usual suspects, such as Dutton Goldfield and Hirsch Vineyards, both of whose Chardonnays are excellent this week.
I’ve also got a Gewurztraminer from Gundlach-Bundschu (try saying that three times fast), which is usually a dependable bottling from them, but I have preferred previous vintages to this one.
I haven’t had a wine in a while from one of my favorite Sonoma Valley producer’s Anaba, but they sent some samples along recently, so I’m happy to feature their Mourvedre, which has a nice character to it.
All this and more below. Enjoy!
2013 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch Rued Vineyard” Chardonnay, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apple, lemon curd, and a hint of tropical fruit. In the mouth, lean and very racy flavors of lemon rind, pink grapefruit, apples, and wet stones bounce along merrily thanks to fantastic acidity, Good balance and excellent length. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ . click to buy.
2013 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of white flowers, lemon zest and wet stones. In the mouth, lean and delicate flavors of pomelo, citrus rind, and white flowers have a fantastic elegance and brightness thanks to lovely acidity. A long floral finish has a faintly waxy quality to it. A very delicate wine that is in its infancy. It will blossom more over time. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ . click to buy.
2014 Gundlach Bundschu “Estate Vineyard” Gewurztraminer, Sonoma Coast, California
Near colorless in the glass, this wine smells of lychee and rose petals. In the mouth flavors of candied orange rind and lychee have a nice zing to them thanks to good acidity, but there’s a bitter woody quality that creeps into the finish that I don’t care for. Before that, however, the wine is quite fine. 14.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $ . click to buy.
2013 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch – Freestone Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and pomegranate. In the mouth, raspberry, sour cherry, and cranberry flavors mix with faint tannins and a hint of green herbs. Excellent acidity makes the fruit bright and juicy. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ . click to buy.
2013 Anaba “Landa Vineyard” Mourvedre, Sonoma Valley, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberries and blueberries and leather. In the mouth, dark cassis, leather, and blueberry flavors are tinged with dried herbs and a faint mineral undertone. Good acidity and faint, plush tannins round out the nicely put together package. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ . click to buy.
2013 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch – Morelli Lane Vineyard” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark purple in the glass, this wine smells of candied blackberries and licorice. In the mouth, juicy bright blackberry and bramble flavors are tinged with a hint of black peppercorn. Nicely dry with excellent acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ . click to buy.
2012 Sutro Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of ripe black cherries and crushed herbs. In the mouth, rich cherry and plum flavors have a nice lift to them thanks to excellent acidity. Faint, powdery tannins dry the edges of the mouth, and the fruit floats off the palate — a bit too soon for my taste, leaving a light emptiness in the back half of the wine. Missing some depth and complexity. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $ . click to buy.