Del Dotto Estate Vineyard Winery & Caves
History and Overview
In just a few years, Del Dotto has become one of Napa Valley’s most sought after destinations! They were the first winery to bottle wines directly out of individual barrels, and continue to offer visitors the opportunity to experience the varied flavor nuances oak can provide to a premium wine. Del Dotto continues to experiment with both ancient and modern winemaking techniques to attain our ultimate goal: Making great wine to bring family and friends together to enjoy life
Typical Estate Tour Experience
As with tour groups at their winery on Atlas Peak Road near the city of Napa, small groups of people simultaneously take tours with individual tour guides. The tour is approximately 90 minutes (sometimes guests spend up spending 2+ hours here) and for most of it, you walk through the very historical caves which were hand dug in 1885 – among the oldest caves in all of the Napa Valley and among just a handful of hand-dug caves and includes stops at hand painted murals built into the walls which correspond to historical wine making events.. (For reference the other pre 1900 hand-dug caves in the Napa Valley including at Beringer Vineyards, El Molino, Schramsberg, Stags’ Leap Winery and Storybook Mountain.) Visitors wander around following the host from one wine barrel to the next sampling wine. Each barrel that one tastes has laminated cards in front describing the wine – if you like the wine from a particular barrel and are OK with the price take the card with you. That is the core of the tour. Because of this focus, one will taste plenty of wine here – if you like a particular wine, you can even request another taste (the correct terminology is ‘revisit’). Each barrel that one tastes has laminated cards in front describing the wine – if you like the wine from a particular barrel and are OK with the price take the card with you.
A VIP room and several alcoves near the end of the cave contain some of their most sought after wines including the Villa del Lago Cabernet Sauvignon and ‘the Beast”, a proprietary red blend made from grapes from their multiple vineyard sources. Their 2012 vintage of this wine earned a perfect 100 score rating from prominent wine critic, Robert Parker Jr.
Also of note are their two Salumi rooms (very unusual for Napa wineries) – both are located at the end of the cave and contained a number of curing meats used by their culinary team.
Hours: 7 Days a week by appointment only, 10 a.m - 5 p.m.
Phone Number: (707) 963-2134 - To learn more about each location, please visit our website at www.deldottovineyards.com.
Del Dotto began their operations as a small producer, however as they have acquired vineyard land in both the Napa Valley and in Sonoma County as well as opened additional wineries, their production has certainly grown. And the number of wines produced has also significantly grown including more recently, sparkling wines. The number of wines created by a variety of different wine making methods is probably the single most key factor that separates Del Dotto from every other commercial wine producer in Napa. They produce approximately 20,000 cases of wine per year across all three of their wineries. Del Dotto is probably the Napa Valley’s number one producer as far as making the largest number of different styled Cabernet Sauvignons. They make approximately 35 different types of Cabernet’s with many very small lots, i.e. often 50 cases or so. As a result this is an excellent opportunity to see how various types of aging can really change the characteristics, aromas and flavors of a wine. Your guide will provide samples of the “same wine” but in different types of oak. The nuances are pronounced and noticeable. Any oak used for aging is 100% new, either American or French – they use only organically grown fruit and it is always hand picked and hand sorted. In addition only free run juice is used (the highest quality juice) that comes before pressing.
Del Dotto makes such a variety of wine that it is truly consumer oriented and with their diversity of product they have wine for most every taste. The DelDotto philosophy is that consumers are the king or queen; therefore at Del Dotto you can mix and match purchases from what seems like an almost limitless number of choices! Suggested Wines Del Dotto also owns a 359 acre ranch called Cinghiale in neighboring Sonoma County. The vineyard is located on the Sonoma Coast not far from the ocean. As a result this is completely different growing climate than where there location here. Their coastal vineyard is cooler, foggy (often moist during certain times of the year) and contains different soil types. That property is planted to some 40+ acres of grapes including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Sauvignon blanc. The 2014 Del Dotto Pinot Noir rosé was sourced from their Sonoma Coast vineyard; it shows notes of fresh strawberry with a flinty minerality and as it opens notes of lime show on the bouquet. There is a pleasing creaminess on the front and middle of the palate. The extended and weighty finish is noticeable and somewhat rare for a wine of this style.
The 2014 Del Dotto Sauvignon Blanc was also sourced from their Sonoma Coast vineyard; it shows notes of red apple and pear on the bouquet – as it continues to open the bouquet becomes much more tropical in nature with pleasing aromas of lychee revealed. The palate shows a wide depth of flavor – is rounded and has notes of citrus flavor. It is clean, crisp and very well balanced for such a young wine (at the time of tasting).