Drastic change often scares people, or at the very least grabs their attention. When your favorite pizza place alters its crust, or begins using a new tomato sauce, it can be a jarring experience; especially when you like it exactly the way it is. That's why most companies looking to switch up their game do so slowly and carefully. Like DuMOL Winery for example: an iconic California producer that is ever-so-carefully scaling back its rich, full-bodied flavor into a style that showcases elegance and restraint. What's more amazing, is that they're winning new customers (like me) who like acidity and fruit in their white wine, without losing any of their old ones, who appreciate a rounder, creamier California Chardonnay. By subtly reducing the amount of oak, the beauty of the DuMOL fruit becomes more and more the star, but without detracting from the softness and smoothness of the style. It's really an amazing transition to behold when you witness the skillful application of it.
We tried the 2013 DuMOL Russian River Chardonnay at our staff tasting earlier this week and many of us were taken aback. Rather than a toasty, full-bodied blast of vanilla, we were treated to something in between Chassagne-Montrachet and Chateau Montelena—integrated oak that melds together seamlessly with the fruit and acidity. I even bought a bottle to take home later that evening (and I don't usually spend $60 on California Chardonnay). It's exciting to me that a revered producer like DuMOL is making crossover wines that can appeal to both sides of the spectrum. It's even more exciting to be able to put these wines into the hands of our Burgundy customers; those who normally don't look towards California Chardonnay when shopping for restraint. By using less new wood and picking the grapes earlier, at reduced sugar levels, the quality of the fruit in the 2013 Russian River Chardonnay is on full display.
2013 DuMOL Russian River Chardonnay $54.99 - DuMol was established in 1996 by Kerry Murphy and Michael Verlander. Andy Smith joined as winemaker in 2000 and partner in 2005. Most of the grapes are sourced from the Green Valley appellation where DuMOL has a 25-acre Estate Vineyard, with other grape sources originating in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Since the beginning, DuMol has striven to make well balanced wines. Known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnays, they also do small amounts of Syrah and Viognier. For much of the winery's existence, the wines have generally been sold direct or to restaurants. With the growth of production, we are finally seeing the wines available to retail. We are lucky enough to get a generous allocation of the wines and hope you enjoy them as much as we do.