Dehlinger Winery is in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California. It was founded in 1975 when Tom Dehlinger, a University of California at Davis educated enologist, planted 14 acres of vineyards. Today Dehlinger and his wife Carole still own and operate the estate, which has grown to 45 acres. Dehlinger specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and wine reviewers routinely praise the estate’s wines for their Burgundian qualities. Along with its flagship Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rose wines. California wine reviewer James Laube has written that as a winemaker, Tom Dehlinger has “shown a master’s hand in crafting intensely flavored, richly concentrated, succulent wines.”
Russian River Valley AVA is named for the river that meanders from Mendocino County in the north until it finally runs into the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. The AVA is cool thanks to its proximity to the northern California coast and the river, and grape growers must learn to deal with regular fog. Nevertheless in recent decades the AVA has become one of the best in the state, meaning that its wines often earn excellent reviews and have considerable cachet. The AVA status was awarded in 1983 and today the appellation has 15,000 vineyard acres. Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape though Pinot Noir has also been very successful in recent decades. Russian River Valley Pinot Noir are known for being rich, lush and filled with concentrated fruit and berry flavors. Russian River Pinot Noirs are today considered some of the best domestic Pinot Noirs.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.