Wine Wednesday Returns

Wine Wednesdays: we’ll drink the wines so that you don’t have to.    Happy summer to all.  We at Bruliam Wines are thrilled to announce the highly anticipated return of our greatly lauded summer fluff series.  Good Morning American brings you a summer concert series, and I spew discordant logorrhea, every single week.  Rejoice loyal readers; “Wine Wednesdays” are back.  Even my mom told me last year’s were great, and she and my step-dad are avowed teetotalers.  (Take that you crummy wine blog award judges!).  Summer 2010 promises an expansive look at northern Sonoma County wines with a decided emphasis on the Russian River Valley.  We vow to cover as many wineries as we can between 9 am and 2 pm (preschool hours) or until Child Protective Services squelches our penchant for retrieving the twins mildly buzzed.  And trust me.  I’ve completed over eight years of post graduate study in areas wholly unrelated to enology, so I am uniquely qualified to be your tasting guide.  After roto-rooter sinus surgery as a teenager, the ENT promised my sense of smell would be permanently dampened.  I cannot identify mulberries, sarsaparilla, or gooseberries.  After scoring a rare seat in Cornell University’s ultra-popular “wines” course my senior year, I dropped the class before it started.  And so went my only formal wine tasting curriculum.

In previous blind tasting flights, I have demonstrated my incompetence again and again, with both domestic and foreign wines.  If asked to compare three wines blindly, two identical and one different, I am certain I could not distinguish the different wine from the others with any more accuracy than chance alone.  I generally can detect whiffs of raspberry and blackberry because I buy them in bulk containers at Costco.  Although I also consume copious amount of chocolate, descriptors like “cocoa nib” and “raw cocoa bean” routinely elude me.  So dear readers, prepare yourselves to meet yet another internet wine expert.  Trust that my mellifluous wine analyses are accurate and reliable today.  If I were to re-taste the same wines tomorrow, they might be different.

Before summer even started, a wine that was new to me elicited a gluttonous moan of joy followed by gulps and slurps.  It happened to be a Dutton Goldfield pinot noir from the Green Valley appellation.  (To be exact, it was the 2007 Dutton Goldfield Sanchietti vineyard pinot noir.  Don’t even try.  It’s sold out.  The winery literally sold the last two bottles the day before our visit).  This wine happened to be part of a pinot pack we’d snagged for cheap at a wine auction.  The other bottles hadn’t been particularly memorable so I had no real expectations for this one.  I was happily surprised by it’s rich, layered aromas of berry, spice and smoke.  The flavors were integrated; the mouth feel was grippy with good palate weight, and the finish smooth and long.  It was a Wow! wine, and the riot in my mouth inspired the first Wine Wednesday of the season.  (OK, I cannot believe I just wrote something so cheesy).

The Dutton-Goldfield tasting room is located in southwest Russian River Valley in Sebastopol.  The tasting room is lovely, spacious, and brand new.  Self-anointed “world’s most reliable taster,” I couldn’t wait to find out if I still liked their wines the second time around.  Happily, I did.  I thought their gewürztraminer was insanely and unapologetically aromatic.  It took me back to being a tween playing dress up and sneaking dabs of “exotic” perfumes like Shalimar.  The wine was heady and potent, with tropical fruit, jasmine and honeysuckle.  I kept thinking of that passage in The Sound and the Fury where Quentin is overpowered by the pervasive smell of honeysuckle.  But we are here to talk about pinot.  I especially liked their Freestone Hill pinot noir for its complexity and core of “baking spice” layered atop berry fruit.  I use “baking spice” as a wastebasket term when I smell cinnamon/cardamom/mace/nutmeg, the players in banana bread or pumpkin pie.

If you do decide to visit, you could bundle the trip with a visit to equally illustrious pinot producer Merry Edwards, just down the road.  Even if you don’t trust my wine reviews, and I use “review” loosely and humbly, I can identify a picnic table in a lineup that includes end table and pool table.  So I can relate with confidence that the Dutton Goldfield tasting room houses a lovely outdoor patio with shady picnic tables.  Pack a basket and savor your pinot al fresco.  And ladies, I won’t tell if you dab on that gewürztraminer in a pinch.  It’s sure to attract the likes of Steve Heimoff or James Laube across a crowded bar.