Telling the story of a place.

I am, and always will be, a fan of John Steinbeck.  The ease with which Steinbeck conveyed the beauty of the California countryside is astounding.  Take for example, the opening lines of his legendary novel, East of Eden, which allegorically tracks the history of the Trask family and their successes and failures in post World War I California…

“The Salinas Valley is in Northern California.  It is a long, narrow swale between two ranges of mountains and the Salinas River twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay.”

Simple yet elegant, Steinbeck manages to instantly capture the reader while he paints a vivid picture of the countryside in which he not only set his groundbreaking novel, but was also the place in which he lived through his formative years.

In the world of wine, the ability to tell the story of a place simply yet elegantly, and to convey the purest expression of that “place” with ease, is achieved by many of the world’s great producers.  And the story of California’s Russian River Valley is wonderfully told by Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield through the wines of regional producer “Dutton Goldfield”.

Dutton Goldfield began producing wines in 1998, and in a relatively short period of time have become one of the highest regarded California producers.   The dual proprietorship have combined their passions for viticulture and attention to detail, and the result is a line-up of wines that are unabashedly Californian, unmistakably Russian River, and undeniably great.

With a heavy focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two grapes that respond well to the cold micro-climate of the region, Dutton Goldfield have managed to produce wines that are true to the earth that they sprung from, yet still offer the pronounced fruit characteristics that makes these Californian mainstays so enjoyable.

Friendly aromas and notable acidity allow for repeated returns to the glass and are a common characteristic of the entire line of wines. It is a invigorating group of wines that offer a refreshing change from the jammy, high alcohol offerings from some of DG’s neighbors in the region.

If at once you find yourself wishing to take a walk through the romantic California countryside but you are confined to your downtown apartment, may I suggest that you pick up a copy of “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck and a bottle of “Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir” from Dutton Goldfield and combine the two. The result will teach you more about “California” then you can possibly imagine.

Cheers,

Jeff

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