Thursday, August 18, 2011

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Del Dotto Vineyards
Napa Valley Rutherford Estate
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Dark garnet color - starting to develop a slight brownish tinge showing its age. Medium-full bodied, the black cherry and black currant fruits are starting to fall off as well as this wine starts to reach the end of its prime drinking profile. The fruit is giving way to a slight earthy leather but it still retains a layer of toasty oak with a hint of spice on moderate lingering tannins on the finish. True to form as Robert Parker noted in the late 90's the anticipated maturity through 2012 and Wine Spectator said best through 2010.

RM 89 points.

Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Merlot and Cabernet Franc 5% each.

Tasted with Linda, Erin and Alec at Angeli's Italian our favorite neighborhood Italian trattoria celebrating our anniversary, Erin's new job, and Alec heading back to school at IU for his final Senior year this week.

Del Dotto is one of our perennial favorite producers and was one of Erin and Johnny's favorite winery visits on their Napa Valley getaway. Del Dotto has always put on one of the best tasting experiences in California wine country and their new winery in Napa is spectacular and carries on the tradition. 

We first tasted this wine when we met the producers Dave and Yolanda Del Dotto  (center, below) at our fifth Napa Wine Experience in 1999

Rick & Linda, Yolanda & David Del Dotto,
Liat and Andy at Tra Vigne in St Helena.

During our Napa Wine Experience visits of 1997 through 2000 we hosted gala tasting dinners with the 'Undisccovered Dozen' emerging new wine producers to watch, featured in an article in Wine Spectator Magazine. Many of these producers released their inaugural vintage releases in or about the 1994 vintage. Those producers and winery visits included Plumpjack, David Arthur, Clark-Claudon, Robert Craig, Del Dotto, Elan,  Paradigm, Pride Vineyards, Snowden, Nils Venge and White Cottage and are featured on my winesite I'm missing one which will come to me at some point - I don't remember what I don't remember!  

An complete index of my tasting notes of these wines over the years is on the site at this link to California Producers Index. These producers make up a foundation of our wine cellar collection yet today. In many of these wines, we still have vertical selections of these wines, some dating back to those early release vintages.

Del Dotto Vineyards Connoisseur's Series
2001 Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Cabernet
Sauvignon, aged in a variety of different oak barrels.

We poured a horizontal selection (shown left) of the Del Dotto Connoisseur Series at a gala dinner at our home last winter - featuring wines from the same vintage release, aged in barrels comprised of different oaks - a unique experience available only from Del Dotto Vineyards.

Del Dotto Vineyards
Napa Valley Rutherford
Estate mini-vertcal

As these wines reach end of their prime drinking profile, some more faint hearted souls who favor the younger profile are releasing these wines to auction. Pictured at left is a mini-vertical of 1994-96 Del Dotto Cabernet Sauvignon (including this featured tasting selection), that I picked up recently. The 1995 vintage release tasted recently was still showing remarkably well and had vibrant life left in it. If you find these, they represent great values since they can often be bought today for near their price points at release a decade ago. I should'nt reveal that since I now have to compete for those wines! Enjoy!