In 2007, in addition to increasing the Rodney Strong portfolio of wines under their Estate name, proprietor Tom Klein added longtime Sonoma County Winery Davis Bynum to the lineup. The history of Davis Bynum dates back to 1973. The goal then as now is to focus on Russian River Valley fruit. Today I’ll look at two of the current release Davis Bynum wines. These wines represent the first Davis Bynum releases under winemaker Gary Patzwald who was already working on some small production Rodney Strong wines. First up is the Davis Bynum 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. The fruit for this wine is composed of four Chardonnay clones. This offering is 100% varietal and all Russian River Valley fruit. 75% of the wine went through malolactic. Barrel aging was accomplished over 11 months in French oak. 6,000 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $25.
Apple, spice and hints of toast waft gently from the nose of this 2007 Chardonnay. The palate features an explosive burst of pure fruit. Apple, pear, pineapple, mango and more arrive in wave after wave of lush, mouth filling flavor. Spices, mineral notes and hint of burnt caramel emerge on the lengthy finish. This wine has excellent acidity and will pair will pair well with creamy dishes, roast chicken and soft cheeses.
The second wine is the Davis Bynum 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Fruit from five clones was used in crafting this wine. This offering is 100% Pinot Noir and all Russian River Valley fruit. Barrel aging occurred over 11 months in French oak. 6,500 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $35.
Black cherry, wild strawberry and vanilla cream aromas emerge prominently from the nose of this 2007 Pinot Noir. Hints of raspberry along with mushroom and continued cherry and strawberry make up the balanced palate of this wine. The finish on this wine is lengthy and smooth with gently gripping tannins and excellent acidity. As with most well made, well balanced Pinot Noir, this wine will pair beautifully with a wide array of foods.
It had been several years since I’d had any wines from Davis Bynum. For a period of time they’d been a regular Russian River stop for me. For no reason in particular they fell off of my radar a bit at some point. So I was curious and eager to see what the Davis Bynum wines tasted like today. Particularly since the winery is in a second life cycle now under the Rodney Strong umbrella. I’m happy to report that these are quality wines that do a nice job showcasing lots of fruit and varietal character. Each is also a fine example of what these Burgundian grapes can achieve in Russian River Valley. Too often, in California especially, Pinot & Chardonnay are overwhelmed with oak. Both of these offerings have their fair share of oak on them but thankfully in these wines it enhances the fruit as it should. With 6,000 or so cases of each, these selections won’t be difficult to fine. If you like Russian River Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir, here are a couple of solid bets to consider.