​Dunning family wines​ WAY off the beaten path​, and worth it, 8/25/22

​Dunning family wines​ WAY off the beaten path​, and worth  it, 8/25/22

Bob Dunning in his winery

​Met with Bob Dunning on 8/25/22.    Drove back into a residential area on a 1-lane dirt road and wondered “where are we going”?  Ended at a older farmhouse property with wine processing equipment.  Hope it’s not offensive, but reminded me of Prohibition scenes, wine processing in the back woods! :).  At first NO one at all seen on the property and we wandered a bit.  ​Rustic would be a word.

Dunning Famhouse

​When we finally found Bob, we learned that the Chardonnay had to be harvested that morning, and he and the team had been up since 5 a.m. pulling it in and ended at 10:00.  We were the only appointment that day. 

Dunning processing facility

Bob dunning has been making wine for over 31 years.​  Sell​s ​to a niche market. The game plan is more ​D​irect to ​C​onsumer​,​ ​hoping for 95% one day. They sell a little bit of wine to restaurants and high end retailers, but the​ business plan is that​ maximum profits ​occur direct to consumer.

​Bob’s ​approach to winemaking is food​ wine that is not super hot, integration of all of the flavors​; ​allow the grape to be reflected ​and create a finesse and elegance of it. Th​is​ starts in The Vineyard by making sure that the grapes have enough hang time to allow the seeds to turn brown and get rid of green tannin. ​He then integrate​s​ the flavors of that fruit to its maximum potential and then integrate the characteristics.



1.  Chardonnay – buying grapes at first, asked to take cuttings and planted on his property. A nursery grafted UC Davis rootstock #4 in order to protect against philoxera.

Very ripe​ and​ creamy with ​a ​spice that’s unusual. Pear, citrus, nutmeg, elegant soft flavors. ​C​reamy creme brulee​-​like tones from the French oak, toasty flavors. Aged for 3 to 5 years. More like a delicate white burgundy. Sur-lees aged, ​n​ice oak flavors but not an o​a​ke​y​ wine.  Soften ​ed ​the edge of the acid with malolàctic acid​ processing​ allowed. Alcohol was controlled and got to 13.9% instead of the hot 15s. That’s delicate. At $34 a bottle it is a mid priced layered and interesting value.

2.  Estate Pinot Noir. ​They are the closest and highest to the ocean​ to get cooling effects even​ in ​Paso Robles, so one of the rare ones attempting it.  Bob says it will be different in Paso Robles and so he believes it succeeds.  ​​Grafted a reproduction of a new ​clone on a 25-year-old grapevine base. $38.  . ​

Wow, interesting burst of flavors. A spicy unique burst of ripe cherry, pomegranates and allspice. ​  ​Unusual for Pinot it has a lush mouth feel,  medium acid, not thin. This has more fruit and ​not ​earthy. Bob controls the ripeness so it stays full of lovely fruit, nice medium acidity and balance.  Sell direct customer​ only.  We got one.​​

3.  Meritage. 2018. A classic Bordeaux style with 70% cab and ​C​ab ​F​ranc. ​Power of tannin in this one. I agree with their comments of wildberry and dark black current ​and dark raspberry. Aged 28 months and 35% new oak, added structure and balance and ​rounded  some of the acidity. It can definitely lay down for a little longer. $45 a bottle.

Cabernet Sauvignon is all sold out and just bottled for the next year.

4.  The estate Private Reserve Zinfandel, 2019. This has a lot of integrated tannin and fruit flavors. Not overpowering or astringent. Definitely would be amazing with some food.  Raspberry​,​ blueberry and spice, very ripe product. Ma​d​e it like a Bordeaux without being overly sweet but very jammy.​  ​$45 a bottle. 

5.  Grenache – wow does this let the varietal show itself. Very red fruit (​their​ notes say cherry pie) with a good tannin an acidity base.  Their notes say white pepper and I agree.

6.  Forged by two reserve is a new release. It a unique blend of Grenache, ​P​etite, Zinfandel and Cabernet.

7.  Petite ​Sy​rah is lovely but in a potent grape that is toned down here a little bit. Eight tons of it are made, shared with another winemaker in the local area where he shares some of his products.  

8. Cabernet Franc – this is absolutely lovely. It is an approachable Cabernet Franc. While it has grippy tannins​,​ it is bot overpowering, a great interesting Cabernet alternative. 

​Enjoyed meeting with a mature wine maker and learn his strategies and ideas.  The wine is ALL very good and we didn’t dislike anything.  Hope to help in having this come to Ohio.​


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