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Napa’s Neighbor Makes Cabs, Too – Dehlinger Russian River Valley

Russian-River-ValleyNO California wine region dominates its field the way Napa Valley rules cabernet sauvignon. It’s simply a fact of life for the California wine industry. If you make cabernet sauvignon and can put Napa Valley on the label, or better yet, add one of Napa’s subregions, like the Stags Leap District, Rutherford or Oakville, you can charge a lot more money for that bottle than if it came from somewhere else.
This naturally galls cabernet producers who come from somewhere else. They are not willing to grant Napa de facto supremacy when it comes to cabernet, and sometimes they have a point.
The Sonoma regions of the moment, the Russian River Valley and the extreme Sonoma Coast, are not cabernet regions. They are known primarily for Burgundian grapes. The noteworthy cabernet areas — Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Mountain — exert considerably less sex appeal these days.
This was an outstanding wine, complex and balanced, rich yet elegant, with lingering fruit and spice flavors. At $80, it was the most expensive bottle we tasted and, yes, it possessed the sort of tannins, power and ageability that many of these wines did not.