We went to their Historic Caves and took the cave tour while tasting their delicious reds and learning more about barrels. Their wines and the tours were both awesome!
I remember seeing a quote by Dave Del Dotto on a wall art that says 'The wine is the reduction sauce and the barrel is the spice rack". I knew I was going to enjoy this wine tasting.
We went to Del Dotto after a good wine tastings at Monticello Vineyards and at Hagafen Cellars. So my taste buds had already opened, so to speak. I was ready for more wine tasting.
We went inside and was welcomed right away by their friendly staff. From the tasting room, I could see the barrel room and a partial view of their caves. I noticed there were a lot of activity inside and a couple of groups were already being showed around. This was on a Wednesday at 11am. I cannot imagine what this place is like on the weekend. Popular place, I thought to myself.
Lots of barrels as soon as we stepped past the tasting room. I like their barrel room and this area with couches. I instantly made mental note that this would be a good team building activity in the future.
More barrels inside. I could smell that hint of jam and grape in the air. I love it.
First, we were given a passionate introduction on oak barrels by our wine educator, Eric. Where the barrels are from, the flavors they add to the wine, how long they last, the different toast levels and techniques to add more surface area on the barrels. Lots of interesting stuff.
First, we tasted their 2014 Clone 777 Pinot Noir in a Louis Latour oak barrel. The wine was poured from a pipette that siphoned the wine into our glasses. I would later learn that this apparatus is called a wine thief. The Pinot Noir was excellent.
Afterward, we started walking into their caves. We were told that the limestone caves were dug by Chinese laborers in the late 1880s. The barrels have labels written on them. Eventhough it was hot outside, the temperature inside the caves is cool. Next, we tasted their 2013 Piazza Sangiovese. Another excellent wine. This one is scheduled for a Summer 2015 Release.
Their 2013 Cave Blend is another excellent wine. It is part Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. This one is already bottled.
And then their delicious 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I think this one is also already bottled.
Afterward, we tasted side by side the same grape from the same vintage but in different oak barrels.
We sampled their 2013 Oakville North Cabernet Sauvignon. One in an Allier Nadalie French Oak and the other in U-Stave American Oak. I can absolutely taste the difference. It is amazing how the same grape can taste different because of the oak barrel used to age them.
Our oak barrel education continued by tasting another grape side by side. This time was their 2013 St. Helena Mountain Block 2 Cabernet Sauvignon. One in Alain Fouquet Carved and Grooved American Oak and the other one in Colbert French Oak. Both wines were absolutely delicious!
In the end, we tasted some more excellent wines and then we paired them with food.
Their gift shop has lots of wines and souvenirs.
Most of the wines we barrel tasted are yet to be bottled. We decided to get a bottle of their 2013 Cave Blend to take home with us.
Thank you Eric and Del Dotto Vineyard for the delicous wines and memorable barrel tasting and cave tour.
Del Dotto Historic Winery and Caves is on Atlas Peak Rd. in Napa Valley.