Friday, March 25, 2011

Paul Dolan Vineyards Brings It With Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc!

Last year I was first introduced to Paul Dolan Vineyards during a live tasting event. The tasting was all red wines and featured Mr. Dolan via webcam talking about his vineyard philosophy and history. I had a wonderful time and took away a newfound respect for organic farming and his passion for biodynamic methods. Click here to check out that writeup.

Fast forward to earlier this month, I received samples of his 2009 chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. After giving them a bit of time to rest, I was anxious to taste each one, just needed the opportunity to arise. Last week, it did! I pulled each wine out of my fridge an hour before I tasted them, so they did have a slight chill but nothing like the pinot grigio at your aunt's place that's been in the fridge since last July.

2009 Paul Dolan Mendocino County ChardonnayPale straw hued wine with great clarity. Focused flavors of papaya, coconut, vanilla and green apple. Minimal oak influence adds a nice dimension to the mid palate. Great interaction between the hints of oak and the tropical fruit, creating a surprisingly complex layered effect. I suspect that has to do with the fact that out of the entire batch, 91% of the juice was aged in stainless steel and the remaining 9% in American oak.Well balanced with a cleansing acidity on the finish that makes it a good food-wine. Pair this with turkey burgers, marinated fish, citrus glazed chicken breast. A superb effort. B+ and a STRONG BUY recommendation. $18 SRP. 5,235 cases produced. 13.5% abv.

2009 Paul Dolan Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc - Pale yellow with a green tint, looks very inviting. Smells like Meyer lemons and subtle kiwi, grass and pineapple. I like the lack of an overly sweet fruit component, which is often my knock on other California sauvignon blancs. Despite it's light body, there is a fleshy texture, a good depth especially for this varietal. The 09 Paul Dolan walks the tightrope between having body but avoiding any cloying sweetness or residual sugar. I was impressed and at an $18 suggested retail, figure this wine hits its price point squarely. Try it with fish tacos or chicken quesadillas. B and a BUY recommendation.

In addition to his reds, Paul Dolan does some rockin' whites too. Both of these wines are delicious and impressive for different reasons. The chardonnay hits way above it's price point, comparing favorably to low-to-no oak wines at $30 a bottle. It's a structural and textural home run. On the other hand, the sauvignon blanc isn't a price-killer but it's got some great flavors that veer away from the typical California model. Pick up a bottle of each and see what you think, I bet you non-chardonnay lovers will enjoy the chardonnay and of course, the sauvignon blanc appeals to many wine lovers out there.

These wines were received as press samples.

Beau Carufel


  1. nice description of whites.. i never know how to do it!

  2. Thanks Anna, describing white wines is a challenge for me, because of the inherent dangers of using words like "sweet" and "dry". Those two words can be misinterpreted so the trick is creating a proper context for their use. That and using disclaimers whenever possible.