2020 Mendocino Hills Pinot Noir
Docker Hill Vineyard
October 2-5, 2020
Aged 16 months in French oak (45% new barrels)
Our Mendocino Hills Pinot leads with the classic rich blackberry compote and bowl of fruit we've come to love from this site. Queen Anne cherry, pomegranate, and a touch of vanilla round out the aromas. The mouth is super juicy, plush, and decadent, with a lift of bright red cherry and cola on the sandalwood and baking spice finish. The wine is soft and easy drinking, and the tannins are fairly open knit.
Since 2016, Docker Hill Vineyard has brought us fruit for our much-loved Docker Hill vineyard designated wine. Nestled in the hills high above the town of Mendocino, this gorgeous site is cold but sunny, and often the last Pinot we harvest. It gives us wines with a wonderful combination of bright berry fruit, chewy density and rich tannin structure. 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. For this Mendocino Hills release, we chose Seguin Moreau Icone medium toast barrels, along with some Foquet to bring out the creaminess we love in this wine. The wine was bottled in March of 2022.
In the crazy harvest of 2020, Dutton-Goldfield was extremely circumspect regarding the wines we produced. The effect of fires near the Russian River precluded any Pinot from our neighborhood, but the far north coast fared far better. To be extra circumspect, we did not produce a Docker designate this year, but bottled this wonderful Mendocino Hill Pinot entirely from Docker Hill fruit. We do love it and hope you do as well.
Food Pairing Notes
It's perfect with anything on the barbeque, as well as pizza, pasta, and fowl of all kinds. For a great cheese pairing, we love keeping it in Mendocino with the local Pennyroyal Farms Boont Corners aged goat cheese.