2013 DuMol "Lia's" Russian River Valley Viognier
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the best Viogniers made in all of California is the 2013 Viognier Lia. Barrel-fermented and aged 12 months on its lees and then moved to tank, this wine doesn’t see any new oak. It is a wine of great fragrance, exhibiting notes of apricot jam, honeysuckle, wet stones and some tropical fruit. It is fresh, medium to full-bodied, with crisp acidity and a long finish. Drink it over the next several years. This is the only white made at DuMOL where malolactic fermentation is completely blocked. DuMOL is one of the more admirable wineries in Northern California, specializing primarily in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but with some intriguing Syrahs, a super Viognier, and as of the last several years, two Cabernet Sauvignons. Kerry Murphy is the long-time owner and partner with his winemaker, Scotsman Andy Smith. The change they have been implementing over the last several years is to pick slightly less ripe, then move their wines into tank for three months or more prior to bottling. In some cases, this has given the wines less intensity and exuberance, but this seems to be the stylistic direction they are committed.
*Two Stars* DuMOL has done it again, this time with a Viognier that will find few challengers for top honors. It leads with a very rich, slightly toasty nose of vanilla, wildflowers and ripe peaches, and, if at first seemingly less than expansively fruited in aroma, the wine succeeds handsomely in the mouth where its richness and range are backed up by a wealth of ripe, wonderfully continuous fruit, and it deftly combines all of its majestic parts into a decidedly accomplished package.
The 2013 Viognier Lia is striking. Varietal aromatics comes through beautifully, but this is a dense, textured Viognier built on layered fruit, salinity and persistence. The malolactic fermentation is blocked, but there is no shortage of texture or resonance on the palate. Drink this vivid, crystalline Viognier over the next few years. This is a strong set of new releases from DuMOL. Winemaker Andy Smith has really dialed in his approach here over the last few years, and it shows. Harvest dates have been moved up, while in general Smith is seeking a bit more freshness in his wines than was the case a few years ago. That is especially true of the Chardonnays, which now also spend eleven months in barrel followed by six months in tank, a fairly classic aging regime today in Burgundy that is less common in California. Smith has also introduced two new Cabernets, with more to follow. As readers probably know, Smith made the wines at Larkmead for years, so Cabernet is intimately familiar. The first wines are quite impressive.
A refreshing blend of ripe pear, peach and nectarine flavors, with hints of floral and dried herb. Reveals a touch of toasty cedar. Drink now. 336 cases made. (Web Only, 2016)
A 3-vineyard blend from Dutton-Gregori, Hoppe-Kelly and Trenton Station vineyards. Clone 1. Yield 1.75 tons per acre from vines that are 7, 9 and 12 years old. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented in 20% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels, and 10% stainless steel barrels. Aged on lees for 9 months.