Dehlinger 2012 Chardonnay Estate, Russian River Valley
In 1975 Tom Dehlinger planted the initial 14 acres of vineyard. From the start, his emphasis has been on extracting, developing, and preserving the maximum flavor from the grapes and producing small amounts of hand-worked, barrel-aged wines. Today their focus is entirely on estate grown wines producing 7000 just cases annually of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since their first vintage they have enjoyed a national reputation and a loyal following that snaps up every bottle they produce.
This Estate Chard is another gem. Grown from the California heritage Wente Clone, which produces small clusters and berries and has a notable minerality with an almost oily viscosity. The Chardonnay vines were planted between 1975 and 1988 on a variety of exposures in Goldridge series soils. Careful leafing allows dappled light to reach the clusters and clusters are thinned to balance the crop load. It's fermented and aged in French oak barrels with full malolactic fermentation. Antonio Galloni scored it 93 points saying "Dehlinger's 2012 Chardonnay Estate is gorgeous. Apricot pit, peach, spices, brioche, butter and hints of honey all meld together in a gracious supple wine endowed with tons of class and personality. Layers of flavor build to the rich, voluptuous finish. This is a classic Russian River Chardonnay built on texture and resonance."