The absolute best part of my job is the interesting people I get to meet and chat with. One such person is Andy Cutter, whom I met a few weeks ago while tasting his wines, under the Duxoup label.
Affable and gracious, Andy is instantly likeable-just like his wines! Founded in 1981, Duxoup Wine Works (more on the name in a minute) is the creation of Andy and his wife, Deborah. They built the winery in Sonoma themselves, and it is still a 2 person operation.
Andy began his work in California at the legendary Freemark Abbey, where he honed his skills for winemaking. His specialty is producing fruity, silky wines grown by venerable vintners. He lets the grape growers make all the decisions in the vineyard and told me, “if you want to ruin your vineyards, listen to a winemaker.” Which is a testament to understanding your strengths and weakness and letting others excel at their particular job. In the case of the two wines which I brought in for DEP’s, the Sangiovese and the Charbono, both are farmed by passionate grape growers.
The Charbono (an ancient Roman grape-Pliny the Elder wrote about it) was planted between 60 and 100 years ago in the Frediani Vineyard of Napa and has been harvested by such heavyweights as Neibaum himself. It is silky and fruity, with just enough body to remind you of its Napa origin.
The Sangiovese is cultivated by Ray Teldeschi, 5th generation Italian! This is planted on old marine soil on the East Bench of Dry Creek Valley, which gives it a high-acid driven backbone. Be on the lookout for classic Italian flavors: Olives and Oregano, namely. A splash of Cabernet and aging in Hungarian oak round it out and add a suppleness of texture. A beauty!
When I asked him what Duxoup means, he laughed and asked, “Which story do you prefer?” Apparently, there are many romantic stories floating around as to the origin of the name, some of which group Andy together with old Hollywood, although he denies all accounts of having movie star lineage. The actual moment when he and his wife settled on this name, and why, remain a mystery. But does it matter? No! All that matters is that it is a name, and wine, and the people behind his wines that stay with you. A small, family operation in an era when that is increasingly rare. These are the wines and stories I love to support, and share with you.
2015 Sangiovese Teldeschi Vineyards Home Ranch, $20.99
2013 Charbono Frediani Vineyard, $17.99