Everyone passionate about wine has a ‘turning-point’ story about this varietal or that, about red or white, maybe, or an appellation. For me, Dehlinger was my Pinot Noir coming-of-age-story. It happened in the mid-90’s. I was in the throes of Zinfandel fanboi-dom–back when it was not the syrupy tar it is now, but was balanced and acidic and tannic and wonderful to drink and age–hitting all the Sierra-Nevada wineries and Dry Creek, RRV and all points Sonoma in search of great Zin, and Cab–but that’s another story. Pinot was… well, just… not something on my radar. Somewhere in the mid-to late-90’s, a dear wino friend opened two bottles of wine from his cellar for me at his house for dinner. They were a 1984 Dehlinger Pinot Noir and a 1985 Dehlinger Pinot Noir. I don’t believe they were even Goldridge’s, just RRV or Estate PN. It was a life-changing experience. I became the biggest fan, buying futures every year and visiting often. Then around 2000, BOOM! Just like that Dehlinger closed to the public and went Mailing-List Only. It was a sad day. I continued following and buying for a few years but moved out of the area and gradually faded off the list.
But wait. This thread isn’t about Pinot. It is about a Syrah, and oh man did this thing blow my mind. I’ve had Dehinger’s Syrah before, but never quite like this one in front of you. This whole long preface is just to instill in you the quality Tom builds into his wine. Whenever I see it on a list, I try to get it and it never fails to charm. This particular bottle was no exception. Not a touch of age on it anywhere. Dark, staining purple with still-pink edges. An unbelievable nose considerably different from the SYV and SLH Syrahs which have predominated my buying in the past decade. No serious tar or fresh rubber, just an earthiness and polished finesse of deep–but not over-ripe–fruit and spice. A touch of eucalyptus and asparagus. Incredibly concentrated and not a trace of AL. The acid and tannin decry the date on the label and just continue on uninterrupted for hours. This thing is absolutely STUNNING.
2006 DEHLINGER Syrah East Face Russian River Valley