When Tom Dehlinger planted the property’s initial 14 acres in 1975, he was one of the first winemakers to revive western Sonoma County as a winegrowing region after Prohibition. In these pioneering days of Russian River Valley winemaking, fewer people were involved in the industry, and knowledge, resources, facilities, and equipment were primitive or hard to find. But over time, with trial and error, and some blind luck, the Dehlingers and others came to realize the promise of the Russian River Valley climate and the potential of some of its better hillside soils and locations.
The property is comprised of two distinctly different soil types. They have the more common Goldridge soils, but they also have the uniquelyprized Altamont series of soil. Altamont is somewhat shallow (just a few feet deep), and it holds less water than Goldridge, but its higher clay content is conducive to a slow extraction of water over a long period of dry summer growth. This means the vines produce less fruit, yet the grapes have more intense flavors. Dehlinger is one of the blue-chip labels in the Russian River Valley, and they are not easily found. In fact, it has taken us years to be able to secure enough wine to feature them on our list, and this beauty has earned a noteworthy 94-point score from Antonio Galloni!
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Pinot Noir Altamont is a dense, beautifully resonant wine. Next to the Goldridge, the Altamont has quite a bit more textural depth and overall intensity. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, rose petal, mint and blood orange all run through this expressive, pliant Pinot Noir. Today, the 2016 is quite forbidding. I would give it a few years in the cellar to fully come together. The 8% whole clusters add aromatic top notes, but aren't especially noticeable."