You are mesmerized as you enter Del Dotto’s Saint Helena caves. I am immediately greeted by proprietor Dave Del Dotto, as he proclaims ‘everything in this room has been imported from Italy, including all the marble.’ I can’t imagine how much this entry room must have cost but the beauty is jaw-dropping. The room immediately harkens me back to my last visit to the Sisteen Chapel. It is just that majestic. Dave points towards the new release Rose, which he pours for me. It is a gorgeous Rose with mouth-watering acidity and beautiful red fruits. Dave was a real estate investor in Modesto, California who made a great success in infomercials throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He is both charismatic and highly knowledgeable about wine and the Napa Valley. Always fascinated by wine, in 1993 he started Del Dotto Vineyards which has been an incredible success since its inception.
As fun as the winery tour is, the wines are very serious. Dave Del Dotto has an incredible range of wines that are all of top quality, literally from Rose to Sparkling Wine to deep, inky Cabernets.I have said before that this overall lineup rivals the best in not only California but North America. While the make a great range of wines, Del Dotto is truly designed for Cabernet lovers. Their new wines tasted from the barrel were coming from the exciting 2016 vintage, another warm Napa vintage which has not yet been released. I was completely enamored by their 2013 Del Dotto ‘Bubbles’ Sparkling Wine (WWB, 93) which shows beautiful richness, texture and astringency. One of the great Chardonnay wines that I have sampled from Napa this year, the 2016 Del Dotto ‘Family Reserve’ Chardonnay (WWB, 95) is sinfully good, with copious fruit and an incredible mouthfeel. This is one to buy by the case. Not to be outdone, one of the top wines that I have tried all year is their 2016 Del Dotto ‘The Beast’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 98), which is a thrilling Cabernet that not only wows you with power and force, but shows remarkable tension and finesse. ‘The Beast’ is a highly collectable wine that is not to be missed. If you are in Napa, visiting the winery is a must. Learn more about this famed winery at http://www.deldottovineyards.com Here are the stunning new lineup of wines by Del Dotto.
2017 Piazza Del Dotto Rose- This Pinot Noir Rose is a stunning, stand alone Rose wine. The Piazza Del Dotto Rose shows nice brightness and intensity on the mid-palate, showing off red fruits and citrus rind on the palate. The oily texture entices. Drink 2018-2022- 91
2013 Del Dotto ‘Bubbles’ Sparkling Wine- This shows lovely brioche and lively lemon zest aromatics. The intensity is there with wonderful bright citrus flavors and toasty brioche elements. I love the mid-palate weight here and freshness. This is a serious sparkling wine that has the age to cellar for a decade or more. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2016 Del Dotto ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay- This wine is a barrel selection that is a personal favorite of owner Dave Del Dotto. This Chardonnay shows a bright golden hue and begins with aromas of toasty oak, brioche and lemon zest with vanilla cream. The mouthfeel is insanely plush with rich banana, brioche and pineapple flavors. The mid-palate weight is simply stunning. Amazing length, this has a minute long finish. Drink 2018-2030- 95
2016 Del Dotto Sangiovese- The mouthfeel here is fantastic with a smoky edge. Red fruits dominate with a touch of cirus rind. I like the astringency here. Drink 2018-2024- 92
2017 Del Dotto ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir- A barrel selection, this has a highly perfumed nose with rose petals, cola and red cherry preserves.The palate shows wonderful richness and acidity with cola and citrus rind flavors shining marvelously, This is an intense Pinot Noir that will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2018-2030- 94
2016 Del Dotto ‘Rutherford Estate Family Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The ‘Rutherford Estate Family Reserve’ is a stunning new wine by Del Dotto. This opens with a highly perfumed nose entices with black cherry cordial, black tea, Asian spice and creme de cassis. The weight and intensity of the wine entices as the grip and tension brightly drives the wine. The acidity is intense with black fruits that connect with coffee grounds and blueberry compote. This is impossible to resist right now, showing a hedonistic streak. Drink 2018-2040- 96
2016 Del Dotto ‘Rutherford Estate The David’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The Del Dotto ‘Rutherford Estate The David’ is a stunning wine from this storied Napa estate. This wine has a touch of Cabernet Franc and Merlot blended in. The Cabernet Sauvignon shows wonderful black tea and mocha aromatics with creme de cassis and a touch of red bell pepper coming into play. The palate shows wonderful freshness, weight and intensity with red and dark fruits parading with the acidity. Bright and intense, this is a long ager but is drinking marvelously right now. Drink 2018-2040- 95
2016 Del Dotto ‘Giovanni’s Tuscan Reserve’ Red Wine- A blend of largely Cabernet with Sangiovese, this shows a deep perfumed nose with creme de cassis, smoke, Asian spice and dusty terroir on the nose. The palate shows wonderful brightness and intensity with red currant, red cherry, cassis and a touch of espresso bean. This shows some incredible range here as I can’t think of a wine if this type made as well as this edition of ‘Giovanni’s Tuscan Reserve.’ Drink 2018-2035- 95
2016 Del Dotto ‘The Beast’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 Del Dotto ‘The Beast’ Cabernet Sauvignon is every bit as good as their 2015 bottling and is one of the best wines that I have sampled all year. ‘The Beast’ is a barrel selection that sources from a host of great vineyards in four different Napa Valley AVAs. Inky dark in the glass, the nose is intense and aromatically gorgeous, currently displaying a dazzling level of complexity with creme de cassis, mocha, Turkish coffee, Asian spice, anise and a touch of toasty oak. The weight and mouthfeel to this wine is simply stunning with creme de cassis, mocha, anise, black tea, leather and black cherry cordial flavors all slowly building in the glass. This is a head-turning combination of bright acidity and fruit weight on the palate that makes it nearly impossible to resist right now. Intense and lively, this has an extremely long life in the cellar. Drink 2018-2040- 98
2016 Villa Del Lago Cabernet Sauvignon- One of the great wines in Napa Valley, the Villa Del Lago Cabernet Sauvignon shines for its combination of concentration and silky elegance. The nose is gorgeous and highly perfumed with rose petals, black tea alongside creme de cassis. Silky smooth through the palate, the wine shows a wonderful elegance and terroir with dark fruits parading with creme de cassis. Turkish coffee, and bake tea with leather. Complex and seductive this is shockingly good right now but will cellar marvelously for decades. Drink 2018-2040- 97