2019 Docker Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Docker Hill Vineyard
October 9-12, 2019
Aged 17 months in French oak (45% new barrels)
April of 2021
The long hang time in this cool site fills the wine with extra richness, its round edges framing the bold fruit. The nose greets you with blackberry compote, cherry pie, and sweet baking spices, providing the first clue of the plushness to come. High-toned cranberry, cherry, and pomegranate give way to darker fruits in the initial sip. A sun-kissed berry bowl of wild blackberry and raspberry follow, filling out the middle of this very seductive mouth, before the wine finishes with sweet cherry and sandalwood. While its fruit is bold, the wine has a gracefulness to it, letting it match with either brash or fine pairings.
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 April of 2021.
Food Pairing Notes
Try it with crispy duck pancakes, veal pâté, roasted dark meat fowl, eggplant parmesan, or gnocchi in a sage cream sauce. Our new favorite cheese pairing is the Pennyroyal Farms Boont Corners aged goat cheese.
94, Planet Grape; 96, Wine Enthusiast - Cellar Selection; 92, Burghound.com; 93, International Wine Review