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2 from Dehlinger

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When you consider wine growing in the Russian River Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are hardly the first two varieties that come to mind; Pinot Noir is the obvious first choice, with Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc vying for runner-up positions. So, when Allan Bree opened these two with dinner a few nights ago, I was more than a little intrigued to taste what they had to offer. Allan has shared more than a few Dehlinger Pinot Noirs and Syrahs with us over the years, but we’ve never tried any of their Bordeaux varieties, and these two selections, now at 13 years old, acquitted themselves admirably.

1997 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alc.: Still showing a clean, dark color, with no bricking as of yet; lovely, sweet black currant-cassis and cedar flavors and aromas, rich and very ripe, just short of going over the top. The cedar doesn’t exactly set the tone of the wine, but it certainly has a strong influence on its character. Full bodied, with good structure for further development, but this is in a beautiful drinking window right now, and in no danger of fading any time soon. Find this wine

1997 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Bordeaux Blend, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlor, 14.5% alc.: Like the Cabernet, still very dark in color, and showing no noticeable bricking; not as effusive aromatically nor as sweet and expressive as the Cab, but quite nice on its own terms, displaying pretty cedar and black fruit character. Fairly rich and ripe, and in a very nice place right now, so while it’ll hold for at least a few more years, why wait? Find this wine

Reporting from Sonapanoma,

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