2013 Dehlinger "Estate" Russian River Valley Chardonnay
This is a bright, effusive, estate-grown, unfiltered white, delineated by high-toned acidity and gorgeously floral aromatics. Planted originally in 1975 to heritage Wente clone Chardonnay by owner/winemaker Tom Dehlinger, its generosity of fresh apple and pear ride a voluptuous, balanced texture that’s wholly satisfying, before meeting deeper hues of spicy, exotic tropical tones on the finish. (VB)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
My tasting at the winery in January started with their beautiful Chardonnay, the 2013 Chardonnay Estate, which was fermented with indigenous yeast. The new oak is relatively restrained, and the wine offers plenty of old Wente, the classic hallmark of white peach, but in this case, backed up with crushed rock and white pebble notes suggesting minerality. The wine has tremendous intensity, full-bodied ripeness, but great acidity and a style that seems to cut a personality between a steely Chablis and a leaner Southern white Burgundy. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)
Dehlinger's 2013 Chardonnay Estate is a big, rich wine. Candied lemon, white flowers, tropical fruit and mint all flesh out in the glass. Surprisingly large-scaled and ample, the 2013 needs to be cellared for at least a few years, or at the very minimum, opened well in advance. I don't think I have ever tasted a young Chardonnay with this much pure power at Dehlinger. The textural intensity of the Wente clone comes through loud and clear. (AG)
*Two Stars* Dehlinger's penchant for richness and ripeness is in full evidence here with a broad sweep of sweet oak overlying lots of deep and well-formed fruit in the nose, and the wine follows suit with very generous, mouthfilling flavors that play notes of cream, caramel and toasted bread against the strong and ongoing presence of succulent, fully ripe apples. While it hints at lushness on entry and shows a bit of heat at the finish, the wine is enlivened with a good bit of integral acidity and does not bog down in excess. It is, in fact, still slightly tight at the end, and even better awaits some two or three years hence.
Complex aromas of light nutmeg and oak lead to a trim, elegant offering of ripe green apple and pear. Ends juicy, with a spicy kick and a pithy edge. Drink now.
Producer Notes: "Our Chardonnay is grown from the California heritage Wente Clone, which produces small clusters and berries and has a notable minerality with an almost oily viscosity. We ferment and age the Chardonnay in French oak barrels with full malolactic fermentation. We planted our Chardonnay vines between 1975 and 1988 on a variety of exposures in Goldridge series soils. Careful leafing allows dappled light to reach the clusters and we thin to balance the crop load."