2018 Devil's Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay
Devil's Gulch Vineyard
Aged 10 months in stainless steel & French oak (0% new barrels)
The cool 2018 season had our Marin Chardonnay among the last fruit we brought in. That long hang time gave us a wine with even more richness, while still maintaining the core of focused fruit we love from the cold coast. The nose leads with Asian pear and Meyer lemon, with savory hazelnut notes providing backup. A hint of exotic tropical mango and guava chime in after time in the glass. In the mouth, ginger-laced Mandarin orange and key lime deliver focused fruit, complemented by a creaminess from the stirred lees and partial ML. Toasty lemon vanilla with a kiss of tangerine leaves you with a succulent and fresh finish.
When Mark Pasternak planted his original vineyard block on his home site in Nicasio in the early 1980s, he put in half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir. Dan made some still wine from the grapes in the early 1990s, but when it became apparent that the grapes would be well suited made into bubbly, he hooked Mark up with one of his favorite sparkling houses to take the crop. Fast forward to 2015, and we find ourselves fortunate to be able to get the fruit for Dutton-Goldfield. Located just above the newer terraces of Pinot Noir plantings on Mark’s steep, convoluted hillside in Western Marin County, the Chardonnay enjoys the same harsh climate of the Marin coast, with slightly protected exposures. The blustery spring weather of Marin gives us poor set and an extremely small crop of tiny berries, while the reliable late fall weather promotes great phenolic maturity and wild fruit intensity in the wine. For us, wine is all about personality, and Devil’s Gulch is one of our favorite examples of that.
When we decided to make a still Chardonnay from this fruit, we wanted to bring out the brightness and freshness of these old vines on this wild site wine, but not lose the creaminess that we love in Chardonnay. So, with our four tons of fruit, we fermented 15% in stainless barrels, 43% in tank, and 42% in old French Oak barrels. We allowed malolactic fermentation, for that bit of complexity, in two of them, and prevented it, but stirred the lees in the barrels. The lots were blended together and bottled in July of 2019.
Food Pairing Notes
Fresh cheeses are the perfect complement, like the Marin French breakfast brie, from just down the road. If you have any wine left beyond the appetizers, go with dishes that combine the creaminess and freshness factor, like smoked trout chowder, lemon stuffed fish with a parsley sauce, or lobster rolls.
92, Blue Lifestyle; 93, Washington Wine Blog; 95, Wine Enthusiast-Cellar Selection