Paul Dolan Vineyards Mendocino County Brut

Mission Codename: Never In Too Deep

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Revisit Paul Dolan Vineyards and retrieve his delicious and unique Mendocino Deep Red Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache blend.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Paul Dolan Vineyards

Wine Subject: Brut – Sparkling Wine – Méthode Champenoise

Winemaker: Paul Dolan

Backgrounder: For today’s selection, we sent Agent Red back to Paul Dolan, in search of a fantastic exclusive sparkling wine for our Operatives Holiday celebrations. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, today’s stellar sparkler is made in the Méthode Champenoise. This method, one of four used in the creation of sparkling wines, makes for far more complex wines. With secondary fermentation occurring in the bottle, this method is far more arduous – and expensive – than other methods. As the name would suggest, the Méthode Champenoise is the same technique that is used in the making of French Champagne.

Paul Dolan, the pioneer of organic wine farming, is a hero to most organic wine producers in the United States. Paul literally wrote the books on sustainable wine production, with his ’Code of Sustainable Wine Growing Practice’s for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and the ’Green Winegrowing Handbook’ which gives an overview of Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic wine growing. As CEO, market-leading Fetzer Winery, Paul led the company to sustainability and profitability, proving that it was possible to deliver wine that benefit wine consumers, wine workers, local communities – and the planet. His experience at Fetzer is chronicled in his tome, Paul tome on sustainable viticulture, ’True to Our Roots: Fermenting a Business Revolution’. Today, Paul acts as winegrower for his own label, in Mendocino County, where he continues his tradition of crafting ”special wines that sustain our environment, the place where we live and the people who live here.”

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Light golden yellow, this beautiful sparkling wine presents an unending cascade of fine bubbles. Bubbles rise in clustered columns, and move at varying speeds. At the surface of the wine, a fine halo of mousse persists throughout the drinking experience.

Smell – Fresh, sweet lemon and honey mingle with white flowers, green apple, yellow pear, lemon custard, soft vanilla and a hint of yeasty bread.

Feel – Fine and tingly across the entry. Then, as the wine passes the mid-palate, the bubble grow in a soft but energetic plume that expands slightly, driving bright flavors around the entire palate. Overall, this wine has a very elegant, vivacious feel that encourages more sipping.

Taste – Sweet and tart green apple, lemon curd and orange blossom lead the way. These combine with citrus, vanilla, pear, underripe white peach and the faintest hint of subtle spice.

Finish – Extremely long, for a sparkling wine, with gorgeous sweet-tart flavors that go on and on. After the fun plume of the mousse fades, this sparkler unleashes its flavors – which, in turn, take a very long time to fully fade away.

Conclusion – We have always loved Paul Dolan’s wines – just as we love the man and his mission. Today’s Mendocino County Burt is an extraordinary sparkling wine that really took us by surprise. We knew that the wine would be great, but our expectations were exceeded. What really surprised us was the low price of the wine. Not that we are complaining, of course. In fact, we are stocking up on this bubbly, which we will be serving at our Wine SpiesHQ Holiday soiree, later this month, and again on New Years! If you love fantastic sparkling wine, this wine will certainly please you. Cheers to you and yours!

Mission Report:

Busy with barrelling, Paul Dolan was unable to sit down with Agent Red for an interview. Please be sure to check this space, the next time we feature another of Paul’s extraordinary wines.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of Paul Dolan Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

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