2018 Docker Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Docker Hill Vineyard
October 18-23, 2018
Aged 17 months in French oak (45% new barrels)
Docker Hill kept its record of being our last pinot vineyard harvested, coming in over five days toward the last part of October, a full 6 weeks after our first Pinot harvest. The long, even season, gave us the quintessential wine we love this vineyard for: dark and saturated, bursting with muscular but sweet fruit. Deep blackberry and boysenberry lead the nose, luring you in with a sumptuous promise. Spicy sandalwood provides an enticing backdrop to the sweet fruit. Loads of mountain berry follow through in the mouth, with red plum and black cherry chiming in—think decadent Jolly Rancher—along with a little black tea. The wine is broad and solid in the middle, and the texture is soft and plush, before finishing long on a wild blackberry note.
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.
Food Pairing Notes
Go big and bold with your food pairings, like spice-rubbed barbequed meats, roasted duck, grilled lamb, and creamy mushroom & prosciutto pasta with thyme. Cheeses with an assertive nature, like Grana Padano, Manchego, or aged Gouda will make the best matches.
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