Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Giovannis Tuscan Reserve 1997

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Giovannis Tuscan Reserve 1997

Our exploration of the 1997 Napa Valley vintage continues. We followed the horizontal flight of 1997 Napa Cabernets at the gala New Year's Eve dinner, with a '97 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc we tasted last evening with artisan cheeses and fresh fruit, and roast beef for a casual dinner. So when we went out to dine at Angeli's Italian, our favorite local trattoria, we took BYOB this Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Giovannis Tuscan Reserve from the same vintage.

I've written in these pages often that we don't collect Italian wines in our cellar. The need to focus on a finite number of varietals and regions to develop knowledge and remain current, coupled with the realities of budget and space dictate setting some limits. So, while we don't keep a collection of Italian varietals and labels, this Napa Valley blend based on the Italian varietal Sangiovese is our placeholder and selection when we go out for Italian dining. We've tasted this label at this restaurant numerous times - a good pairing with several menu selections including tonight's Portabella Mushroom Ravioli in brown sauce. 

For another festive Holiday dinner, last month, we did a tasting of several aged Napa Cabernets (shown left) that included a Sangiovese as part of the horizontal comparison (tasting of several wines from the same vintage). The Sangiovese stood out and was a surprise of the tasting with it ending up being the biggest and firmest wine of the evening. So, I was interested to do this comparison against the recent flights of Cabernets from the same vintage. 

I've written often that one of the joy's we get from our cellar is being able to conduct comparison tastings such as this, multiple wines from the same vintage (a horizontal tasting) or the same wine across a range of vintages (a vertical tasting). Another joy is tasting the same wine over time to see how it evolves. To effectively track this requires tasting notes, hence this vehicle to record and track my tasting experiences. I keep a comprehensive log of all my tasting notes which is linked here and above.

Del Dotto Vineyards Napa Valley Giovannis Tuscan Reserve 1997

This is one of the last bottles of a case we obtained on release back in the late nineties. 
Just last quarter we tasted this wine when I wrote:

Consistent with earlier tasting notes ... medium bodied - dark blackish ruby color starting to take on a slightly brownish rust color at the rim; aromatics of black berry and woody cedar with a tone of creosote/tar and a slight earthy funkiness showing its age, eventually giving way to slightly tart black cherry fruit with tones of leather and hints of anise and spice turning to moderate silky tannins on a lingering finish of soft oak.

Like the '97 Napa Cab Franc tasted the other night, this too is showing its age and is clearly in the last chapter of its life, still showing fruit and a shadow of it true character, but it is time to drink up.

RM 87 points.

Rick, Linda and Dave Del Dotto - a long time ago
As written often in these pages, Del Dotto are one of our favorite producers whom we've featured several times at our wine producer dinners and have visited them at their various Napa Valley locations over the years. Del Dotto events and winery visits have been the highlight of many of our Napa Experiences and should be on one's shortlist for a Napa Valley trip. 

The Del Dotto Winery and Tasting Cave facility is on Highway 29 at Zinfandel Lane on the south end of St Helena on the edge of the Rutherford Appellation.