Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Del Dotto Cave Blend and Signorella Hope's Cuvee Chardonnay

Del Dotto Cave Blend and Signorella Hope's Cuvee Chardonnay

For a dinner with friends and colleague Jeff visiting from Seattle, we dined at our favorite local neighborhood trattoria, Angelis' Italian with regulars Andy and Barb D. I pulled from the cellar to take BYOB, two mainstay Napa favorite producers' labels, Del Dotto Cave Blend and Signorella Hope's Cuvee Chardonnay.

Around the table, we ordered Angeli's Pasta and Peas Special, Veal Jannel Special, Eggplant and Tilapia entrees which were ideally complemented by our two select wines.

Del Dotto Napa Valley 'Cave Blend' Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

We've known this label since its introduction back around the turn of the century. We tasted and acquired this vintage release during our visit to the Del Dotto Rutherford Estate and took the Del Dotto Cave Tour and Barrel Tasting.

We've been fans of Del Dotto wines since their earliest days back in the early nineties. We started acquiring their wines starting with their inaugural release back in 1993. They gained notoriety when they were featured in the Wine Spectator feature, "Twelve Up and Comers to Watch". We met Dave and Yolanda Del Dotto and then winemaker Nils Venge during several of our Napa Valley wine producer events and winery and vineyard visits. From those meetings, we worked with Dave and Yolanda and Desiree in the earliest days in their web marketing launch.

Del Dotto is one of the largest holdings in our collection. So when they opened their new property, Del Dotto Piazza, it was on the shortlist for our Napa Valley Wine Experience 2018.

Del Dotto has grown remarkably beyond their Rutherford Estate at the corner of St Helena Highway and Zinfandel Lane. Their expansion now encompasses seven other appellations. Today, Del Dotto's footprint consists of 437 acres with 121 acres planted of varietals including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and sangiovese.

This was dark garnet colored with a bright blackberry and black raspberry fruits,  with notes of floral, earthy clove spice and hints of oak with moderate tannins on a lingering finish. RM 89 points

Fellow Pour Boy Bill was with us on our tour and posted this tasting note on this label; This has improved significantly in the last six months. Dark cherry, black raspberry, white pepper and a bit of clove on the palate. Medium bodied with grippy tannins and a medium finish.  WCC 86 points.




Signorello Hope's Cuvee Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

We discovered and acquired (the then current release vintage of) this wine during our visit to the Estate on Silverado Trail in Southeastern Napa Valley during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2013. At that time I wrote about this label: "I am predominantly a red wine drinker and while I enjoy an occasional glass of white, most often with appropriate food, I don't normally get excited about a white wine. This chardonnay was the exception,  memorable and special."

Signorello Estate overlooking vineyards and valley floor.
The Signorello winery sits at the very southern end of Napa Valley and has 43 acres of vineyards, including some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in all of Napa Valley - fruit from 37-year-old vines goes into his Hope’s Cuvée.

The magnificent Estate was destroyed in the fires that engulfed the much of sections of Sonoma and Napa. Fires came down the foothills to the property that sat up the hill back from the highway.

The adjacent Darioush property nearby the sits at the valley floor closer to the highway and similarly situated properties were untouched.

Signorello "Hope's Cuvée" Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave the 2015 release 98 points and said, "The best Chardonnay I have ever tasted from Ray Signorello has to be the 2015 Chardonnay Hope’s Cuvée." Vinous gave it 91 points.

This Hopes Cuvée Chardonnay was full bodied but nicely balanced and polished for very pleasant drinking. It is bursting with flavorful fruit with layers of peach and poached pear giving way to hints of honey, almond, nutmeg, vanilla and creamy soft spicy oak. There is very pleasant full mouth-feel with rich texture on the palate with a long lingering finish of sweet mellow oak.

Golden colored, full bodied, rich and concentrated caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, white peach, pear and melon notes with a touch of almond and brioche.

RM 92 points.