California winemaker Dan Goldfield, formerly with Sonoma County wineries La Crema and Hartford Court, has joined grapegrower Steve Dutton to start a new Sonoma County wine brand.
The first bottlings from Dutton-Goldfield Winery -- 350 cases each of Chardonnay (88 points, $28) and Pinot Noir (85, $33) from the Russian River Valley -- will be released in January 2000. The grapes come from the 800-acre Dutton Ranch, best known as the source of Chardonnay for such top producers as Kistler and Sebastiani.
"We'll always use 'Dutton Ranch' as a sort of appellation," said Goldfield. "Then when we get something spectacular, we'll do smaller bottlings from particular sites."
Goldfield and Dutton had known each other for 10 years before committing to the joint venture. Goldfield, who left Kendall-Jackson's Artisans & Estates group of wineries last April, was director of winemaking at La Crema since the 1990 vintage, and he directed the creation of Hartford Court, in 1994.
While Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will remain the backbone of the partners' label, they also plan to add small quantities of old-vine Zinfandel and Syrah. For the next year or two, the wines will be made at Russian Hill Estate Winery, where Goldfield consults, but the partners hope to have their own winery built by 2001 or 2002. They expect production to reach 10,000 cases annually within the next decade.