One taste, I was absolutely hooked! Then I began to hear the story, the tale of the connection, the reason this wine stayed with me for so many hours. Take a moment, if you can spare the time. Because the folks behind the label, the gentle farmers tending the grapes, they are the real story, and the reason you’ll never forget the flavors you’re about to experience.
There is something so graceful, so alluring about this farming family. Their names are Warren and Gail Dutton and they first purchased land in California in 1964. Most in these parts considered the area too cold to ripen wine grapes. But not the Duttons. They planted this land, a parcel near the tiny town of Graton – a place they dubbed “Home Ranch” – to wine grapes, as well as apples, two of their favorite crops. Today, what was once a humble little home ranch upstart is the most important vineyard in the Russian River Appellation of California.
If you’ve spent even a passing amount of time glancing over the labels of some of this country’s most sought after wines, you already know the name of Dutton Ranch. Consider for just a moment the Dutton’s first 2 clients, the first wineries in California to purchase these grapes from this hard-working, down-to-earth farming couple; the chart-topping Martin Ray and the world-famous Kistler! Today, these two winery’s wines routinely fetch prices that exceed $200.
Yes, the Dutton Ranch connection, from humble beginnings in the 1960s, is about as close to a mark of perfection as a winery may achieve in the Russian River today. The list of clients, proudly displaying the Dutton Ranch name on their labels – indicating they have purchased grapes from one of the Dutton vineyards – includes more than 25 of America’s greatest wineries, to include the aforementioned Kistler (who first bottled a Dutton Ranch wine in 1979), Conn Valley Vineyards, Hartford Court, Lewis Cellars, Patz & Hall and so many others. The list of clients purchasing fruit also includes such famous labels as Kosta Browne, L’Angevin, Ramey and Ferrari-Carrano, to name but a few.
And now, as I’ve discovered, we have another. A quiet winery. Yet a winery that was established as far back as 1978 – but at that time just a couple of guys were making a few cases near Oakland. It was a quiet affair, not much excitement in the air back then for wines from a little place called Stag’s Leap Vineyard…not many folks out there looking around for Pinots from a place called Carneros….
And then, these two guys became three. And then, as lucky guys always do, these three guys met the Duttons! The rest, as they say, is history. I have been lucky enough to be the first guy in town to taste the first release – from one of California’s best Pinot vintages in a long time – from one of the Dutton’s finest vineyards – called the Widdoes Vineyard – bottled by a winery called Lost Canyon. A wine that I can still taste as I write to you this afternoon. A wine that deserves all the praise bestowed upon it. A wine truly deserving of the Dutton connection.
A wine deserving of a place in the collections of those with a taste for this country’s very greatest Pinot Noirs.
Interested in availability? Contact me at the shop…
All the best in wine and life,
Diplome D’Honneur de Sommelier
2439 Times BLVD
Houston, TX 77005