2013 DuMol "Isobel" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
The 2013 Chardonnay Isobel Charles Heintz Vineyard is full of promise. Tropical fruit, apricot pit, white peach and white pepper notes blossom in a pretty, high-toned Chardonnay long on class and personality. This nuanced, delicate Chardonnay shows plenty of potential. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at DuMol this year. Winemaker Andy Smith is no longer at Larkmead and is now solely focused on DuMol, which can only be a good thing for these wines. Many of the 2012s, the Pinots in particular, were even better from bottle than they were from barrel last year. The 2012 Pinots spent more time in barrel than normal, and for the most part benefited from the longer elevage. Unfortunately I was not able to taste the 2013 Pinots as they were bottled earlier than normal, just before my visit. DuMol and Andy Smith fans can look forward to two Cabernets starting with the 2014 vintage; the first is from the Montecillo vineyard in Sonoma, while the second is likely to be a blend from two top Napa Valley sites. DuMol occupies a pretty solid position in the middle of the stylistic spectrum, which is one of the reasons they are so delicious. In my view, these wines have never been better.
Sweet oak and toast break a step or two ahead of lemon-tinged, yet fairly ripe fruit in the nose and assume a similarly salient role in the ensuing flavors of this weighty, glycerin-fattened effort, and, while not lacking for richness, the wine is not as vigorously fruity as the best DuMOL bottlings. Its lingering finish takes on a spicy, slightly hardwoody edge, and service with richer foods, rather than lighter, is what it wants.