Thursday, October 15, 2020

Del Dotto Napa Vineyard 887 - Pirouette 2016

Long Shadows, Vintners' Series, Pirouette Columbia Valley Red Wine 2016 and Del Dotto Napa Valley Vineyard 887 St. Helena Connoiseur's Series Colbert French Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Following our gala Pour Boys tomahawk ribeye wine dinner last weekend, we regroup and visited Dr Dan and Linda at their Indiana home. After further researching the Chateau Boswell Estate Red Wine that Dan brought and served at our dinner, I realized this was a Pillippe Melka crafted wine. On further review, I found that another Pillippe Melka wine, that we hold in our cellars, Long Shadows Vintners Series Pirouette, is a similar blend and from the same vintage, also, that got the same rating from the wine reviewer pundits. 

While Chateau Boswell is Napa Valley fruits and Pirouette is Columbia Valley, Washington State fruits, based on the other similarities I thought it would be interesting and fun to taste and compare the two labels. Hence, I took from our cellar the 2016 Pirouette to taste with our dinner. 

Prior to dinner, Linda served a selection of artisan cheeses. We brought what has become one of our absolute favorites, creamy Delice de Bourgogne.  

For dinner, Dan and Linda served kabobs of beef, chicken, green peppers and onion, salad and Linda's signature chili. They also served three cheese stuffed peppers and grilled tomatoes stuff with cheese and spinach.

Long Shadows, Vintners' Series, Pirouette Columbia Valley Red Wine 2016

We discovered and acquired this wine during our visit to the Long Shadows tasting room in Woodinville during our Washington State Wine Experience in 2018. 

Considering that the Napa Valley Chateau Boswell and Long Shadows Columbia Valley Pirouette are from two disparate wine regions, there was a remarkable similarity in the tasting profile and character of the two wines - indications of the effects of the winemaker's influence in the final product. 

Remarkably, the Pirouette costs a fraction of the Boswell, a tribute to the Long Shadows project, and the high QPR - Quality Price Ratio value afforded to Columbia Valley wines. 

This vintage release is a Bordeaux Blend of 68% Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, Petit Verdot (8%), Cabernet Franc (6%) and Malbec (3%). It was fermented in barrel and aged 22 months in 75% new oak.

This received 97 points from reviewer Jeb Dunnuck, 93 points from Wine & Spirits, 91 from Wine Enthusiast and 90 points, a Cellar Selection from Wine Spectator James Suckling. 

The Pirouette shared the same dark purple garnet color, medium-full body and black currant and black raspberry fruits. It was accented with blue fruit notes, cinnamon and clove spices, hints of tobacco and graphite with firm but approachable tannins on a long lingering finish. 

The Pirouette was more firm, concentrated and firmly structured than was the Boswell. From my tasting notes and blogpost, we tasted the remains of Boswell two days later at which time it was softer, smoother, more sensuous and balanced. We didn't have the benefit of a follow on comparison of the Pirouette two days later, but will perhaps do so in a future tasting. It was slightly less polished and elegant, slightly more fruit forward, concentrated and unctuous, and lacked the ultra ripeness tones of the Boswell fruits. 

RM 94 points. 

This showed consistently as a tasting earlier this year of this label. 

Pour Boys tour Del Dotto Caves

Following the Pirouette, Dan pulled from his cellar this ultra-premium single-vineyard designated select Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This was especially fun to taste this label as it represents some pleasant memories of our Napa Valley wine tours. Dan and we all tasted and then procured this wine during our Napa Valley, Del Dotto Winery and Caves Tasting and Tour in 2018

This single vineyard designated select label is crafted from fruit from the Del Dotto 887 St Helena Vineyard. This vineyard is named for the address, 887 St Helena Highway, on the south approaches into the town. 

Rick & Linda with David Del Dotto, 2003
Located on the south end of the St. Helena Appellation, Vineyard 887 is one of the highest rated vineyards in Napa Valley. It is purported to be the favorite vineyard of the producer. This picturesque vineyard consists of nine acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in 2000. 

This vineyard shows the typical St. Helena characteristics of lush, fruity berries, with easily accessible tannins on the palate. 

The inaugural vintage of an 887 Vineyard single vineyard designated wine/label was in 2004. By 2012 it was receiving 96-98 point ratings from Robert Parker. 

The property also is the site of a guest cottage, amidst the vineyard surrounded by the vines. Linda and I had the pleasure of staying in the cottage during a Napa Valley Del Dotto winery, estate, vineyards and cave tour back in 2003 (left).

The single vineyard designated label didn't exist back then, it came along the next year, but we didn't discover the label until our 2018 estate and winery visit and tour. We purchased this label at that time, much in remembrance of that earlier visit, and had great anticipation of tasting this wine again, which we finally did tonight. 

Del Dotto Napa Valley Vineyard 887 St. Helena Connoiseur's Series Colbert French Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 

This is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Savignon. In the crafted in the unique Del Dotto method, it is part of the Del Dotto Connoisseur's Series where the same wine will be aged in different oak barrels of different oaks for the ultimate comparison tasting experience. This version was aged in Colbert French Oak. Robert Parker gives this wine 95 points and an aging window of 2018 out to 2040. 

We have hosted wine dinners where we served a selection the Connoisseur Series of the same wine aged in different oaks. Only the discriminating experienced enophiles appreciated and discerned the differences. 

Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, complex, concentrated, forward, structured black berry and tangy black currant fruits with notes of pipe tobacco, black tea, graphite and hints of milk chocolate, anise and spicy cinnamon turning to firm but silky smooth approachable tannins on the long tangy acidic lingering finish. Needs a few more years to settle, soften and integrate further.

RM 94