The story, or the sales pitch, of Kutch Wines used to focus on the man himself – Jamie Kutch – rather than the wines. Jamie famously (in the world of Pinot Noir) quit his job in finance at the age of 30 in order to pursue his dream of making wine, and turned out to be rather good at it. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a good story.
Fifteen vintages on, though, and the story really has to be about the wines. Through trial, error, the odd stroke of luck and what has to be the gift that only a very few winemakers have, Jamie’s wines are not only amongst the very best that Sonoma can offer, they stand up to the best from the Côte d’Or with ease, and offer a unique and compelling take on Pinot Noir.
Jamie has been sourcing fruit from the McDougall Ranch vineyard since 2006. Planted in 1997 by Mac and Barbara McDougall on a mountaintop of Cazadero, just over three miles from the Pacific Ocean, it is a quite stunning vineyard and one perfectly suited to Pinot Noir. The soils are rocky greywacke and sandstone; the elevation is 900 to 1,100 feet (above the fog line) – an elysian site for Pinot Noir.
The winemaking philosophy is non-interventionist. This is about Pinot at its purest. Indigenous yeast, native malolactic bacteria and élevage in 100% neutral oak barrels (none new). Punchdowns are done by foot; no pumps are used and the wines age untouched and unmoved until bottling.
2019 was an exceptional vintage for Jamie Kutch, albeit a small one - just 13 barrels of McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir were produced. There will be nothing released from 2020. This is an exceptional, and rare, Pinot Noir from one of Sonoma’s greatest young winemakers.
|U.S.A.||2019||Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch, Kutch|
6 bottle minimum order
|BT||8 \ 0||96||445.00||12||96||49.444444||96.00||96.00||Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch, Kutch||0.75||10|
|Wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.|
13.0% alc., 325 cases, $64. An exposed southern slope high above the fog-line art 1010 feet elevation and 3.5 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Extremely rocky soils of sandstone and shale. 75% whole cluster native yeast fermentation after a 3- day cold soak, native malolactic fermentation, aged sur lie for 15 months without racking until blended and bottled. My notes were the most extensive for this wine indicating it was special. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Terrific nose eager to offer aromas of dark berries, burnt tobacco, sweet pipe smoke and flower garden. The core of mid-weight olallieberry, black raspberry and blackberry fruit really engages the drinker. A hint of tobacco and violets add interest. A firm backbone of tannin is readily evident initially. When tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle, the deep aromas of purple berry compete burnt tobacco and pine sap were ridiculously sensual. The berry fruit gained intensity and seemed to last on the finish for a minute. This is a young wine that needs time to ease the tannins but the structure guarantees that this wine will go the distance. McDougall Ranch always stands out in the Kutch lineup. The finish sends the drinker immediately back for another sip.
The 2019 Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch is one of the most savory wines in this range, as it so often is. Dried flowers, mint, pine, spice and cedar lend striking aromatic presence to this mid-weight, finely-sculpted Pinot. Bright acids and beams of supporting tannin lend shape and energy. The McDougall is a Pinot that emphasizes savory complexity, drive and tension, while the fruit lies more in the background. 2024-2034
The 2019 McDougall Ranch bottling of pinot noir from Jamie Kutch is also excellent in quality. Its cellar stats are similar to the other wines here this year, with seventy-five percent whole clusters and thirteen percent alcohol. The youthful nose offers up a lovely constellation of cherries, beetroot, pomegranate, pigeon, a fine base of dark soil, roses, black tea, sweet stem tones and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and potentially sappy at the core, with fine soil signature, ripe, buried tannins, tangy acids and beautiful length and grip on the complex and perfectly balanced finish. This is just a touch more structurally accessible out of the blocks than these other 2019s from Jamie Kutch, but it too is built for the long haul and it would be a crime to open a bottle before its tenth birthday. Fine juice.