2011 Dehlinger "Altamont" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1161341 93 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Whatever the challenges that the vintage may have posed, there is little evidence of any difficulty here, and the wine speaks of very deep and defined Syrah fruit with a great sense of implied strength and reserve. It is rich, full and specific with a wealth of spice and sweet oak in league with its concentrated, optimally ripened fruit, and, as is the case with Dehlinger’s best wines, it is exceptionally well-balanced for the big wine that it is. It is not abrasively tannic, yet it has the sturdy structure of wine in want of age, and it is should be laid aside for drinking no sooner than five or six years hence.  (3/2015)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby. Heady, exotic aromas of red and dark berry liqueur, incense and potpourri, with a vibrant mineral note adding lift. Juicy, sappy and focused, offering intense raspberry and rose pastille flavors that put on weight with air. Shows very good clarity and power on the strikingly persistent finish, which features supple tannins and lingering florality.  (6/2014)

92 points Vinous

 Dehlinger's 2011 Pinot Noir Altamont Vineyard is both more nuanced and also more structured than the Goldridge. A classic Russian River Pinot, the Altamont offers plenty of suppleness and pure texture. Rose petals, violets, crushed rocks and new leather all add layers of further dimension. This is a striking Pinot with tons of personality. Tom and Eva Dehlinger's 2012 Pinots are the highlights in this range of current and future releases. Tom Dehlinger describes 2012 as a generous vintage that required considerable thinning. There are four 2012 Pinots, so readers will have quite a bit to choose from, but all the wines are knockouts. The 2011 Pinots and Syrahs are also delicious, but a little more introverted. Today, the 2011 Chardonnay looks like the best wine of the vintage here. Readers should note there is no 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon; all the best fruit went into the Claret. I saw the Dehlingers just as Eva Dehlinger was about to go back to Beaune, where she is in school. It will be interesting to see to what extent that experience and a full immersion in the Burgundian culture influences the future direction at Dehlinger, one of Sonoma's benchmark estates. (AG)  (2/2014)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Pinot Noir Altamont achieved good ripeness before the damaging rains hit. Revealing a light medium ruby color, it offers up lots of sweet black cherry and wild strawberry fruit intermixed with spice and earth notes. The gorgeous aromatics are followed by a medium to full-bodied, lush palate with crisp acidity. It should drink well for 4-7 years. The ever reliable Tom Dehlinger continues to turn out realistically priced wines of exceptionally high quality. Their newest offerings, the Altamont Pinot Noir and Syrah, come from a hilltop vineyards planted in gravelly red soils previously called “Estate.” The Frei Road Syrah emanates from a 2.5-acre block of what was the Martinelli-owned Zio Tony Ranch. Dehlinger has never been one to utilize a tremendous amount of new oak for their Chardonnay program, and both the 2010 and 2011 Estate Chardonnays reflect that. (RP)  (12/2013)

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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.9