Burgundy breathes in California - Kistler & Dutton Goldfield Report
I try to visit California once a year, each time I go I focus my attention on one of their great regions. This time I decided to visit two fantastic properties Kistler Vineyards and Dutton Goldfield.
Kistler Vineyards located in Sebastopol, California was founded in 1978 by Steve Kistler and Mark Bixler. Mark, unfortunately, passed away last year. Kistler produces both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir using Burgundian techniques. They grow their Chardonnay at 10 different sites, however, what is unique is that each vineyard uses the same clone, growing techniques, and the same vinification for all sites. This means that when trying one of their 10 single vineyard Chardonnays you will be experiencing what each terroir tastes like.
Nine different terroirs were tried both at the vineyard and in California, where stocks did not allow for us to try at Kistler. Hudson Vineyard (97 points) was a standout, with a perfect balance between fruit, oak, acidity and wow, what a finish. The finish went on for minutes! This wine is drinking so wonderfully for its age, however, keep it for 5 years and you will be happy you did. For the Pinot Noir's the Natalie Silver Belt stood out with ripe cherry and cranberry along with excellent acidity and a long finish. You just want to keep coming back to the glass for another sip. The future is bright for Kistler and I cannot wait to return.
Dutton Goldfield located 10 minutes down the road, was found in 1998 by two friends Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield. Two friends who had one aim; to make wine which they could drink at the dinner table. Unlike Kistler, Dutton Goldfield produces other varieties outside of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They also produce Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Syrah. They have vineyards in Green Valley, Russian River Valley, Marin County, Sonoma Coast and Anderson Coast. Dutton Goldfield wines are fresh and ready to drink now, however holding them for a couple of years will only improve them to another level. When comparing these wines to their Burgundy counterparts you cannot help to compare and wonder why you would pay double for the same quality. These would stand up to any 1er Cru in Burgundy.
Highlights of Dutton Goldfield included the Pinot Noir Fox den (96 points) which showed wonderful ripe cherry, blackberry, elegant and long with gripping acidity. Walker Hill Chardonnay (96 points) with notes of pineapple, lemon curd and a round creme brûlée finish.
Both Kistler and Dutton Goldfield proudly showcase Burgundy wine in the heart of California. The wines here are fresh with crisp acidity, both vineyards are focused on the terroir with excellent length. All of these wines make a great alternative to Burgundy wines at a reduced price point for equal quality. They are worth going out of your way for, below see my favourites.