2001 Dehlinger "Octagon" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1010874 95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 ne can taste these three limited bottlings side by side time and time again and not find one that is less than special. In so many years, this one has been our favorite, and so it is again this time around. It is entirely and convincingly inviting for its deep and dramatic ripe black cherry fruit and its creamy rich overlays of oak and dried flowers, and its rich, velvety, coating mouthfeel together with its admirable sense of balance and its promise of ageworthiness propel it to the very top rank in this all-time best issue of Pinot Noirs.  (6/2004)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2001 Pinot Noir Octagon Vineyard is a 225-case offering produced from the Joseph Swan Pinot Noir clone. The name refers to the fact that this vineyard surrounds a spooky, octagon-shaped house sitting on a knoll overlooking the Dehlinger winery. Plum, cherry, strawberry, and underlying forest floor notes are accompanied by a fleshy, sexy Pinot with outstanding ripeness as well as elegance and sweetness.  (2/2003)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium dark red. Subdued but pure aromas of plum, blackberry, raspberry and earth. Juicy on entry, but less fleshy now than some of the earlier samples. Began quite dominated by its tannic structure, but opened nicely with aeration to show a silkier texture and strong berry and spice flavors. Perhaps not quite as precise as the High Plains but may ultimately to have more stuffing to buffer its tannins. Finishes with chewy, ripe tannins and very good subtle persistence. 90(+?) points  (6/2004)

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.