Owner Lynn Fritz has an unstoppable energy and relentless devotion in making this one of the ultra-premium labels in Russian River. As a CEO of a global logistics company, Lynn purchased a property designated as Quail Hill, for his summer retreat. Ten years later he established a winery expanding the property with contiguous parcels of vineyards. The 100-acre estate has five different aspects with 14 different clones of Pinot Noir and six clones of Chardonnay.
17 Suzanna's Vineyard Chardonnay:A clear, pale straw pineapple. There is a hint of pretzel with a lemon cream bouquet. The mouth-feel is opulent and integrated with orange blossom, honeydew and warm baking spices. Flavors sail through the mid-palate ending on a note of citrus and a touch of minerality. Perry Miroballi
17 Quail Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir:Immediately you become enchanted with a bouquet of violets and dried rose petals. The deep, dark ruby hue unveils a compact wine with ripened black cherries and a potpourri of exotic spices and herbs. Lavender, cinnamon, cardamom and so much more capture your undivided attention as you delve into the depths of this brooding wine. The finely grained tannins show that it will benefit from aging.
Fifth generation grower Steve Dutton formed a partnership with winemaker Dan Goldfield in 1998. Dan found his way to California pursuing chemistry research. An avid admirer of Burgundian-styled wines, Dan brought awareness of his winemaking talents crafting wines at La Crema and Hartford Court.
17 Walker Hill Vineyard Chardonnay:Sourced from old vine Wente Clones, there are overtones of stone citrus fruits and green apple sorbet. The tension and youthful freshness in this wine is obvious and very attractive.
17 Dutton Ranch, Shop Block Pinot Blanc:Within the core are accents of fresh apricot and macerated white peach mixed with a slice of pleasing minerality. A food-centric style of Pinot Blanc with a traditional Alsatian expression.
17 Emerald Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir:These vines are planted in sandy loam Goldridge soils. A wild and vibrant Pinot Noir, opening with dried flowers and a juicy core of black plums and mulberry. There are elements of earth and savory dried sage that add another dimension to this wine.
Recognized as the “Queen of Pinot Noir”, Merry Edwards has had an illustrious five-decade career in winemaking. Her masters research analyzed lead in wine, leading to the discontinued use of lead capsules. Merry’s zeal, innovations and clonal research in producing Pinot Noir, resulted in establishing the region’s renowned reputation for this varietal. In 1997 she established Merry Edwards Winery on a 24-acre fruit orchard in the Russian River Valley. She has created a distinctive and unique style based on winegrowing and phenolic research. Merry was inducted into the CIA’s Vintners Hall of Fame in 2013.
18 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc:Without doubt, Merry Edwards produces one of the most compelling Sauvignon Blanc’s any where on this earth. This full barrel fermentation style reveals aromas of macerated white peach, guava and candied pink grapefruit. This sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc is laced with ginger and tropical fruits that linger for minutes. It is rich, yet not weighty, finishing clean and memorable.
17 Meredith Estate Pinot Noir: Merry has defined Pinot Noir. This is a composite of clones including Merry Edwards namesake clone UCD37. A compact and concentrated opaque-purple wine revealing aromas of lavender and spring flowers. Within are complex layers of blueberry and blackberry compote integrated with Asian spice and savory elements. The tannins are ripe and polished.
Joe Anderson and his wife Mary Dewane acquired the Cohn Vineyard in Russian River Valley in 2002, expanding plantings of Pinot Noir. Co-owner Mike Sullivan is the winemaker, intellect and the driving force behind this winery. After stints at Landmark and Chappellet wineries, Mike garnered honors for his achievements at Hartford Winery. With their first commercial release in 2006, Benovia excels in handcrafting small lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
17 La Pommeraie Chardonnay:Sourced from their prized vineyard along Laguna Ridge at the edge of Green Valley. Pale golden yellow with restrained floral aromas that open up over time, revealing a mix of Gala apples and sweet limes.There are layers of creamy oak with subtle minerality. This wine, while great now, has all the attributes of an age-worthy Chardonnay. Perry Miroballi
17 La Pommeraie Pinot Noir:This dark ruby wine unfolds with warm red berry fruits of currants and black raspberry coulis. There are baking spices and fresh savory notes built into this impressively textured Pinot Noir. This complex and expressive wine is built to age gracefully, although you may be inclined to drink it early.
This project is the brainchild of Kirk Venge, son of Napa veteran winemaker Nils Venge. While his father has been immersed in the intricacies of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvigon, Kirk focused his early efforts with Croix Estate on limited production Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sonoma County. The name derives from the French term for cross, as Kirk wanted to cross the divide and establish his expertise beyond Napa Valley. The first official release of Croix Estate wine was in 2012. The winery sources fruit from some of the best vineyard locations and growers throughout Sonoma County.
17 Starlings Roost Chardonnay:Croix Estate winery is still flying under the radar. This unctuous Chardonnay has lots of buttercream and orange marmalade, but still stays in balance with enough freshness. It is creamy and broad shouldered with vanilla bean and slivered almonds adding to it’s complexity. Long and inviting.
17 Thomas Creek Pinot Noir:The Croix wines are well-crafted and overly generous in their expression. Purple violets and lilac pull you into this wine as it unfolds in your mouth with ripe orchard fruits and warm baking spices. It is silky and almost mind blowing with continuous layers on top of layer.
This is a sixth generation family of grape growers and winemakers. With 1,200 acres, the Dutton’s established their roots in farming agriculture. Warren Dutton, a former apple grower, is embraced as one of the most respected grape growers in Russian River. Joe Dutton is co-owner of Dutton Ranch sourcing blue-chip fruit bearing the Dutton name to 80 clients throughout California. Joe and Tracy Dutton spearhead the Dutton Estate vision. Dutton Chardonnays are easily identifiable for their richly- framed style.
16 Warren's Collection- Dutton Ranch Chardonnay:
A stunning, textbook example of Chardonnay from the Dutton Estate. This buttered pastry is filled with baked apple pie, mixed with almond marzipan paste and dusted with brown spices. Don’t be dissuaded by the richness as there is enough tension and freshness to balance everything. Warren is shining down on this wine.
17 Dutton Estate Jewel Block Pinot Noir: Deep ruby and concentrated with bright stone cherries, red plums and pomegranate. This polished wine showcases a subtle character of olives mixed with forest floor and herbs. The wine is savory and mineral tinged in the finish.