2017 Docker Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Docker Hill Vineyard
October 6 & 9, 2017
Aged 16 months in French oak (45% new barrels)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Docker Hill had a section still to harvest when the fires started, so the second pick ended up getting stranded in Mendocino for a couple days while emergency vehicles took over the roads. Fortunately, old winery friends in Anderson Valley kindly helped us out until we could get the juice down to our winery. Join us in toasting thanks them when you enjoy the wine! And what a layered and deep wine it is. The nose leads with robust, brooding aromas of black cherry, blackberry, spicy sandalwood, and peaty earth, balancing on a tobacco and black tea backbone. Flavors of sweet blackberry and boysenberry fold over each other in waves, like a delicious berry pie, and continue into the extended creamy finish. There’s a great density and richness to the wine that is completely captivating and keeps you reaching for the glass.
As anyone who knows Dutton-Goldfield knows, we love out-there vineyards. Sites outside the norm almost always mean both the fruit and the grower have personalities we want to get to know. So, when a friend told us about Docker Hill Vineyard, a site on a mountain above Comptche, southeast of the town of Mendocino, we had to check it out. The owners, Massachusetts hardware store moguls Bill and Karson Aubuchon, planted the vineyard in 2010 to an assortment of Dijon and Heritage clones. For our inaugural bottling, we received fruit from the 828, Swan and Pommard blocks. The vineyard sits at about 1,000 feet, keeping it generally above the fog line. The elevation gives the vineyard a longer, warmer day than its neighbors to the west or at lower elevations, but significantly cooler than the Sonoma Coast. This climate provides us a wine with a weighty body, full of richness, yet still fine—Dan thinks of the character of this wine as combining the silkiness of Green Valley with the heft of the Sonoma Coast.
After hand sorting and destemming into small open top fermenters, the must is cold-soaked for 5 days in order to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigat¬ing harsher tannins. The must is punched down between 1 and 3 times per day depending on the stage of fermentation. One of the pleasures of this spring “rack and back” is choosing the barrel array for the final aging of the wine. In the case of Docker Hill, the great density and voluptuousness of the Docker pairs well with the nutmeg creaminess of Fouquet barrels, as well as the great spice and solidity of Seguin Moreau Icone. The wine was bottled in February of 2019.
Food Pairing Notes
You’ll want an equally robust menu to accompany the wine, like barbecued ribs, grilled kielbasa sausages, or cumin lamb kabobs. For cheeses, think creamy and tangy to play against the sweet fruit: fresh herbed goat cheese or young pecorino.