We’re kicking off a new Binge original series, “Let’s Wine,” with Dolin Estate located out of Malibu, CA. Learning about Dolin Estate, we were inspired by the passion and hard work that makes things tick there. Luckily, we were able to catch up with Elliot Dolin, founder and owner of Dolin Estate and he gave us the inside scoop.
Heading to Malibu? Make sure you visit Cornell Cellars tasting room, just up the road from Dolin Estate, where you can taste the Dolin wines. We recommend the Chardonnay!
What was it like to spearhead the application process for the new Malibu Coast AVA?
It was a core group of five of us that initially engaged the consultant who compiled and submitted the application on our behalf. None of us had any previous experience in going through the process, and it turned out to be very educational for all of us. The application itself included a tremendous amount of detailed information- geological, geographical, historical and climactic. I think we all came out of the process having learned a lot more about what makes the Malibu Coast AVA the unique viticultural area that we believed it to be, versus just knowing that we could grow good grapes there.
How did you choose the location for the vineyard?
Given the limited size of our property, the choices for the location of the Vineyard were rather limited. However, the one area on our property that was available for us to plant had all of the right characteristics. Good soil conditions, south facing exposure, sloped elevation and a cool coastal climate that is quite favorable for growing Chardonnay grapes.
How has Dolin Estates grown over the years since first planting your Chardonnay grapes in 2006? How does it feel to be so well received?
Our first release was our 2009 Chardonnay, of which we produced around 105 cases. With the 2012 vintage, we broadened our scope and produced approximately 1900 cases, including four distinct Pinot Noirs, a Rose of Pinot Noir, a second Chardonnay (Malibu Newton Canyon) and two blended red wines. A few of these wines are yet to be released, as we are allowing them to benefit from additional aging in the bottle. We did release the Pinot Noirs a little over six months ago and I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it is to have our very first vintage of Pinot Noir acknowledged so well by the critics. And, most importantly, enjoyed by the consumers who have experienced tasting them.
I’m sure the winery holds a special place in your heart; can you explain the feeling of that?
Well we certainly have a particularly special feeling when it comes to our estate grown Chardonnay. Having planted these vines in what some people might consider an improbable place, and having watched them grow and yield fruit years later, we do take a special since of pride in the fact that this wine has pleased so many people over the years. While we take pride in all of our wines, there does exist a certain sense of “parenthood” when producing wine from grapes grown on vines that we planted ourselves.
What is your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
I would have to say that one of my favorite aspects of the wine industry is that the wine experience can be shared and appreciated by so many people. It is a very universal common denominator. In the various wine events that we participate in I can meet total strangers and share the experience of tasting a wine with them. And it doesn’t matter where they come from, what language they speak, or what their social status is.
What is your favorite part of Dolin Estate?
Tasting a wine that we have produced, and truly believing- in my palate, my head and my heart- that this wine achieves the standard of quality that we set out to achieve.