Thursday, April 09, 2009

2005 Del Dotto Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

I received this bottle as a gift from a former co-worker at Merrill Lynch (Thank you Lisa!!!) for helping her "tweak", er, plan her trip to the Napa Valley with her husband and friends. Anyone looking to go there on vacation drop me a line with your contact details...I got the goods for Napa, Sonoma and San Francisco!

The 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc was drinking really nice right now. I think Parker scored this pretty well and I can tell why. Before we get to the tasting notes, a little about the winery. Proprietor Dave Del Dotto and his winemaker Gerard Zanzonico make wine in one of the newest and boldest wineries in Napa Valley. See them here! Not many people can just prop up a new winery on Highway 29 amongst the already crowded sets of wineries. But I guess if you plunk down $10 million just to create and build the winery (and let’s not forget annual massive property, grape, employee, tens of $1200 French oak barrels, and a host of other high expenses). NOTE: anyone looking for a good tax write off and enjoy wine, go into the winemaking business!

How did Dave Del Dotto get that money? It’s a funny story and you decide for yourself how you feel about it. Just Google his name to find out! I don't buy too much of his wine, and the labels are really freaking gaudy! I think he and the folks at Delectus hang out a lot! Roman chic or tacky Jersey/Long Island front yard Italian-esque?

Either way, the TOUR is one of the BEST in all of Napa Valley. I have sent about 6 or so groups there already and they all have walked out with at least a half a case of more of the wine, and probably half in the bag as you have the opportunity to taste or drink a whole lot of wine – it’s up to you if you want to spit. There were two tours when I last sent someone there. I have only been to the old caves down in the southern Napa sector of the valley. It is out if the way from the new winery which is smack in the middle of the action on Highway 29, steps from the likes of Mondavi, BV, Staglin, Coppola and Cakebread. Del Dotto is a barrel freak and uses numerous varieties of oak (French, American, or Hungarian) and toast levels (light, medium, and heavy toast for example). When you take the tour you get to taste the same wine from the same vineyard from a different style of barrel. Or vice versa, the same barrel but a different vineyard to see the terroir impact on the wine. It’s a great tour where you will drink lots of wine and talk with the great folks at Del Dotto on how the oak interacts with the juice to produce the wine you are tasting.

The proof is the juice in the bottle. I toured it once and myself bought a 6 pack, the same goes for my wife Lisa and sister-in-law (hey Chris!!!)

On to the notes!
Color: Immediately purple red, with a medium garnet center

Nose: Squeaky clean! The oak jumps up immediately but thankfully after an hour or so integrates better with the other aromas of red fruits, lots and lots of licorice, The oak gets more subdued but toasty, and violets are there, but you have to look for them. Lisa picked up on them and it was a great call! Thanks baby!

Palate: Currants, licorice, some cherry and black tea at first. Later on secondary Asian spice and oak mingle with some lavender and flowers. Finish: Silky, smooth tannins and luscious fruit sail on for 30 seconds or so. Great wine! Thanks again Lisa!!!!



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