The Journey of Vaughn Duffy Wines

The Wine Write

Feb 27, 2022

We visit this week with Matt Duffy of Vaughn Duffy Wines. Matt and wife Sara are first-generation vintners. Sometimes wine isn’t about fancy chateaus and pristine vineyards; it’s about hard work, sweat, and fork lifts. That’s the Vaughn Duffy Wines story.


Wine Spectator Reviews 2020 Rosé

June 2, 2021

Vibrant and refreshing, with peach and watermelon flavors that finish on a snappy accent. Drink now. 360 cases made. From California.
90 points

Praise from Wine Enthusiast

May 11, 2021

2018 Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard Sonoma Coast
This is a sublime, cool-climate red that is compelling in strawberry and dried herb. With a grip of oak and elegant power, it retains both enough acidity and elegance to cut through a full-bodied frame.
93 points

2018 Pinot Noir Sonoma County
Refined and balanced, county appellation wine delivers great quality for a fair price. Juicy in pomegranate and rhubarb, it offers nicely savory notes of anise and black tea that persist around silky, lengthy tannin and integrated oak.
92 points

2018 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
This wine is textured, complex and rich—a good showcase for the appellation. Dense layers of dark cherry and strawberry complement the earthier tones of black tea, forest floor and rhubarb, ending in a robust finish of toasted oak.
90 points

Praise from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2021

April 3, 2021

2018 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley — Best in Class

2019 Sauvignon Blanc Hopkins River Ranch Russian River Valley — Gold Medal

2018 Old River Red Blend North Coast — Silver Medal

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Praise from Wine Spectator

November 15, 2020

2018 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley Reserve
Elegant, offering intense poached, spiced pear, yellow apple and white nectarine flavors, appealing crunchy acidity and details of lime zest and green tea that linger.
90 points

September 30, 2020

2019 Rosé of Carignane Mendocino County
Vibrant rose petal and strawberry aromas open to crisp yet luscious flavors, with a brisk finish.
90 points

2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Citrusy accents flank the ripe white fruit and lemongrass flavors, backed by firm acidity. Savory richness shows on the broad, well-spiced finish.
89 points

2018 Old River Red North Coast
Lively and fun to drink, with user-friendly raspberry, sweet anise and cracked pepper flavors that finish with lightly zesty tannins. Carignane, Zinfandel and Charbono.
89 points

Praise from James Suckling

November 15, 2019

2018 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
Very attractive dark berries and cherries are wrapped in aromas of blueberries, subtle spices and violet flowers. The palate has a smooth, sleek and attractively fleshy feel with a concentrated yet approachable build into the long finish.
93 points

2017 Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard
This has a very rich and ripe feel with such intense aromas and flavors of red berries and dark cherries, delivered in a rich, suave palate that has impressive depth. The fleshy, silky texture is alluring, as is the long, sleek frame of a fine tannin.
93 points

2017 Pinot Noir Fay’s Reserve
This has attractive aromas of ripe and rich dark cherries and blueberries with berry pastry and violets, too. The palate is plush with deeply velvety tannins that carry a rich core of ripe dark berries. Gently chewy finish.
92 points

2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Aromas of fresh peaches, honeyed cream and grilled lemons sit well with subtly spicy complexity. This has a smooth and sleek feel with a composed, fleshy and silky ride through peaches, melon and pears.
92 points

2018 Sauvignon Blanc Hopkins Ranch
Very fresh, attractive aromas of ripe apples, Asian pears and lemons follow through to a chalky, crisp palate. Fresh and crisp, dry-white style here.
91 points

Praise from James Suckling

November 26, 2018

2016 Suacci Vineyard Pinot Noir
Impressively fresh and pure fruit focus on the nose here, leading to a palate that has a very energetic texture and uncluttered fruit presence. This is delicious. Drink Now.
93 Points

2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
This has attractive structure and depth with very fresh and focused red and black cherries, framed in finely detailed, long and fresh style. Impressive purity and concentration here. Drink or hold.
94 Points

Praise from The Prince of Pinot

October 7, 2016

2014 Stori Vineyard Pinot Noir, Green Valley
The 2.25-acre Stori Vineyard was planted in 2001 to clone 115. Soils are Goldridge. 100% de-stemmed, 6-day cold soak, feral yeast fermentation. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels. A selection of the three best barrels out of twelve. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Initially moody, but opening nicely over time in the glass to revealing engaging aromas of dark stone and berry fruits and spice. A full-bodied core of charming black cherry, black raspberry and blueberry fruit flavors back by spice really draw attention. Impeccable balance, offering both fruit generosity and suavity, finishing on point. This wine is clearly special.
93 Points

2015 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Dark reddish purple color in the glass. A bit youthful and clumsy, but the potential is evident. The aromas of black cherry liquor and orange zest are shy and the full-bodied flavors of black cherry and black raspberry are not as expressive as they will be. Deeply concentrated fruit with balanced tannins and a vibrant acid backbone. The finish is particularly intense and persistent.
91 Points

2014 Suacci Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Sourced from a sustainably-farmed, 6.5-acre vineyard located southwest of Sebastopol just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The vineyard was planted in 1993 by Charlie Chenoweth to clones 115 and 777. Harvest Brix 24.1º (115) and 24.4º (777 and 115). Hill Block (115) 100% de-stemmed. Apartment Block (115 and 777), co-fermented the two clones, 30% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromatics expand over time in the glass, offering hi-tone scents of black cherry, black raspberry, potpourri and a hint of peppery spices. The flavors echo the nose with a bit of toasty oak seasoning evident in the background. Middleweight in style, with integrated tannins, a silky texture and an engaging finish of uncommon length.
92 Points


Praise from Purely Domestic Wine Report

Volume 4.1 – April 2015

April 30, 2015

2013 Vaughn Duffy Pinot Noir, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Stori Vineyard
The nose is mineral, spice box, violet pastille and black cherry. The palate is exceptionally smooth, balanced and lively with youthful acidity and plenty of dark cherry throughout. Drink 2015 – 2020.
91 Points

2014 Vaughn Duffy Sauvignon Blanc
A nose that is immediately ripe and effusive of citrus, mineral and pepper, papaya, licorice and grapefruit. The palate is fresh, bright peach skin. Full, vibrant and well priced.
90 Points

2014 Vaughn Duffy Rosé of Pinot Noir
Another of the top pink wines in this issue. The nose is orange candy, mineral with notes of cream. The palate is solidly structured with crisp acidity, bright red fruit flavors and nice vitality. Drink 2015 – 2016.
92 Points

2013 Vaughn Duffy Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
The nose is licorice and black cherry with notes of spice, sassafras and berry. Good texture, though the palate is reluctant to show much immediately. After a couple hours, it opens to reveal some decent red fruit and acidity. Drink 2015 – 2019.
88 Points

2013 Vaughn Duffy Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Suacci Vineyard
The noise is cherry, licorice and notes of whole cluster stems; nicely focused. The mouth feel is lovely with a velvet-like core of cherry, violet and mineral. A very pleasant wine. Drink 2015 – 2022.
89 Points

Wineries to Watch in 2015

Wine & Spirits

October 2, 2015

Matt Duffy and his wife Sarah Vaughn make… one of California’s freshest rosés and a clean, floral Russian River Valley pinot noir. The newest addition is a savory, taut Russian River Valley sauvignon blanc from 40-year-old vines.


Praise from Wine & Spirits Magazine

June 4, 2015

Over the past 3 months, Wine & Spirits Magazine has published a succession of praise for our new wines. Check it out!

2013 Vaughn Duffy Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
One of the Year’s Best Pinot Noirs

A classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir centered on a simple, polished red cherry flavor, this carries a pretty violet scent above the fruit. It’s open and inviting, with a snap of acidity cleaning up in the end. Drink it now to catch its youthful exuberance in full flower.
90 Points

2014 Vaughn Duffy Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley
One of the Year’s Best & Best Buy

Based on old vines that Bob Hopkins planted in 1976 along with fruit from a neighboring parcel planted in 1991, this is tense and needs decanting. Barrel fermentation in neutral oak gives the old vine fruit room to expand into a briny shrimp broth richness that’s focused by taut acidity, freshness emerging in aromas of pink grapefruit and rose petals. It’s a sauvignon with concentration and flavor depth, poised to expand with another two or three years of age.
“Our blind panels tasted 274 new-release US Sauvignon Blancs over the last 12 months. Our critics rated 17 as exceptional (90+) and 9 as Best Buys.”
92 Points

2014 Vaughn Duffy Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Best Buy for 2015

As plump and mouthwatering as a white cherry, this bursts with lively scents of jasmine tea, that florality turning spicy at the end, focusing the wine around clean, light, savory pinot noir flavors that last.
91 Points

Is Pink the New White? A Complicated New Era for Rosé

San Francisco Chronicle

May 23, 2014

2013 Vaughn Duffy Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir ($18, 13.9%)

Sonoma winemaker Matt Duffy’s pink wine is back in super shape, and a bargain considering its Sonoma Pinot base. It’s plusher and fruitier than in the past, full of brambly blackberry and peach, with a minty kick to finish.


Praise from Wine Spectator

May 31, 2012

Vaughn Duffy 2009 Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard

A delicate, well-structured style that’s light in color, with snappy rasberry and wild berry flavors that are clean and refreshing, ending with notes of spice and wilted rose. Drink now through 2020. 49 cases made. – JL

Seven Winemakers to Watch in 2012

7 x 7

December 27, 2011

Matt Duffy and Sara Vaughn love Pinot Noir almost as much as they love each other. In 2007 they gave up all the perks of city life (they still miss being able to see Giants games at a minute’s notice) to make Pinot Noir in Sonoma…


Praise from San Francisco Chronicle

September 11, 2011

2009 Vaughn Duffy Suacci Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($39, 13.2%)
Matt Duffy found an edgy, impressive approach for his inaugural vintage from the stellar Suacci site. Refreshing, moss tinged and foresty, with dark mineral and appealing fruit – raspberry, bayberry, vibrant orange peel. A touch of whole-cluster spice adds a final, complex touch.