2010 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Chardonnay is alluring in its beauty. Rich, layered and totally expressive, the 2010 caresses the palate with hints of almonds, orange peel, spices, butter and a hint of French oak. The 2010 is endowed with tons of Russian River character, but with no sense of excess heaviness. The vineyard sources are predominantly Lorenzo and Dutton. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019. Winemaker Andy Smith describes 2009 as a “sweet, forward vintage,” while 2011 is more “dynamic and commercial.” Smith reserves his highest praise for 2010, which he calls his favorite among the three current vintages. In 2011, Smith bulked out 20% of his Pinot Noirs, including the entire production of the Eoin. All the 2011 Pinots came in before the rains. Smith used whole clusters only for the Aidan, as botrytis was an issue in all the other Pinot vineyards. The Charles Heintz Chardonnay came in after the rains. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste the 2011 Syrahs, as the final blends had not yet been put together at the time of this tasting. In broad terms, the DuMol Chardonnays are all fermented and aged in barrel, with no lees stirring. Some of the wines are aged in slightly larger 300-liter barrels, and at times the malolactic fermentations are partly blocked, which results in wines that are texturally rich but also full of energy, a combination that is rare and hard to achieve.
This fresh, vibrant, tightly wound and well-focused white offers a vanilla- and smoke-accented beam of spicy green apple, pear and honeydew melon, with a long finish. Drink now through 2019.
Obvious oak leads the way in the nose here and fruit lags a bit as toast and sweet spice take center stage, but the wine's very deep and layered flavors are nicely proportioned and every bit as fruity as they rich in oak. Fairly big-bodied, slightly oily to start and then firm and quite well-balanced, this one hits all the right marks in terms of richness, structure and length. It is thoroughly enjoyable now, but given the choice, we would set it aside for another year or two yet.
The 2010 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay is a blend of some of the finest sites in the area, including 50% Dutton Ranch, 25% Heintz, 10% DuMOL Estate, 6% Hyde, 6% Lorenzo, and 3% Joy Road. Grapes were hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard and again at the winery before being gently whole-cluster pressed into 40% new French oak for fermentation and 15 months of further aging. From winemaker Andy Smith: "Light green/yellow color. Wonderful aromatic range: cantaloupe, grapefruit, green apple, cut grass. Richer almond and oatmeal aromas build with air. Intriguing fennel and spearmint edge. Bone dry tightly-coiled palate. White peach, crunchy apple, sweet lime, with a clean saline edge. Broadening texture as it opens in the glass. Taut acidity brings structure and length."