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Wine of the Week: Dutton Estate 2013 My Father’s Vineyard Syrah

Autumn Vineyards in Sonoma County 

I had a hunch that Sonoma County’s Dutton Estate might have just the sort of holiday-friendly, but slightly adventurous and limited-release wine that I was looking for, and my hunch was proven right.

As I opened the door to the cozy little bungalow of a tasting room, a refurbished stucco-finished old house on Sebastopol’s Gravenstein Highway, I smelled delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen. The winery chef was baking savory cookies with bacon, apple, and Estero Gold cheese, a perfectly autumnal pairing with the Russian River Valley Syrah of this family winery — see below for the recipe.

The Dutton family farms hundreds of acres of grapes and has a long list of winery buyers, many of whom list Dutton Ranch as a single vineyard source on their labels. Their own label features wines made from some of their small, prized vineyards that others may not have access to.

Dutton Estate’s 2013 My Father’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Syrah ($42) may smell like a big, meaty Syrah at first — smoky, leathery and cured meat aromas butt up against big, grapey fruit notes — but it’s not as smoldering and wildly “animale” in aroma as their Cherry Ridge Syrah, which is available to wine club members only. On an oily oak note, the palate wraps up quite tidily.

For holiday meals that include anything but the lightest of lightly seasoned fowl fare, this Syrah may be a worthy foil. It was perfectly delicious as an aperitif with these savory cookies, recipe courtesy of Dutton Estate Winery.

Bacon, Apple and Estero Gold Cheese Savory Cookies 


- 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 ounces Estero Gold Reserve (or Parmesan style) cheese, micro planed
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 strips thick cut bacon, fried crisp and minced (you should have 1/2 cup, packed)
- 1/2 cup dried apple chips pulsed in processor to less than 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tsp. smoked or kosher salt
- Pinch of piment d’espelette or cayenne
- 1 tbsp. water


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese and Estero Gold together for about 1 minute. Beat in the bacon and dried apples. Add the flour, salt and piment d’espelette and mix until it is in large crumbles, about one minute. Add 1 tbsp. water and mix until combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll into a log about 1 1/2 inches around. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice into 1/4 inch thick disks and place at least 1 inch apart on an ungreased, sided cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, turning with a spatula at the 10 minute mark. Cookies should be golden around the edges and firm to the touch. Cool on a rack until they are slightly warm.

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