From Russian River With Love

Tom Dehlinger, who has been fashioning wines in Sonoma's Russian River region for over three decades, remains one of Northern California's most unassuming winemakers. A true friend of wine lovers, he makes high-quality wines that sell at fair prices. Like many of the finer California vintners, Dehlinger markets to select distributors, top restaurants, or to the public via mailing lists. Visit his Web site,, for information on purchasing the wines.

2004 Chardonnay Estate

92 points.

A light green/gold color is accompanied by orange and lemon blossom, crushed rock, white currant, and spring flower characteristics. Full-bodied and rich with wonderful acidity, it keeps its fruit and minerality in the foreground, and the oak component (25% new) is well concealed by the intense flavors. This beauty should drink nicely for three to four years or longer. $32

2003 Syrah Goldridge Vineyard

90 points.

The dark ruby/purple wine has a big nose of charcoal, blackberries, new saddle leather, and meat scents. Medium- to full-bodied, soft, and supple, it is already accessible. Enjoy it over the next five to six years. $35

2004 Pinot Noir Goldridge Vineyard

90 points.

The dark-ruby-hued pinot noir shows the cherry/pomegranate side of this varietal. Spicy and medium-bodied with abundant fruit as well as complexity, it should drink well for seven to eight years. $39

2003 Syrah Estate

92 points.

This wine exhibits excellent concentration as well as nuances of acacia flowers and meat. With a terrific texture, loads of blackberries and glycerin, and a heady finish, it should drink well for seven to eight years. $39

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

92 points.

There are only 450 cases of this inky blue/purple-colored beauty. Aromas of blackberries, blueberries, licorice, chocolate, and espresso are followed by a dense, powerful yet elegant cabernet that is reasonably light on its feet. Sweet tannin and fabulous concentration suggest it will age well for 15 or more years. $42

2004 Pinot Noir Estate

91 points.

Full-bodied and intense with superb elegance, complexity, and texture, it reveals abundant black fruits in the nose along with hints of forest floor, herbs, and earth. It should drink beautifully for a decade. $43

2004 Pinot Noir Reserve

94 points.

This small cuvée (just 250 cases) was produced from hillside vineyards. There's a sweet midsection, admirable ripeness, acidity, purity, and texture. This elegant effort has a medium- to full-bodied palate, loads of black raspberry, plum, and black cherry fruit, notions of forest floor, and a hint of oak. It should age nicely for a decade or more. $60

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Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

By Robert Parker

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