Text Size:-+

1999 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

Every once in a while it's nice to be reminded why Napa Cabs have the mystique of being, well, Napa Cabs. Dalla Valle is certainly one of the progenitors and continued beneficiaries of the cult status accorded to many of the valley's best small producers.

Dalla Valle started in 1982 with the purchase of 25 acres of hilltop vineyards and land on the hillsides above Oakville by Gustav Dalla Valle and his wife Naoko. Dalla Valle, an Italian born heir to 175 years of winemaking and winegrowing history in his family as well as the founder of the highly successful brand ScubaPro, decided to move to Napa with his wife to open a restaurant or a spa.

As with many others before them, though, they were shortly struck by the wine bug, and decided instead to focus on turning their estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc into a great wine. I'm sure they've succeeded beyond their wildest initial dreams. Whether it's the extra hour of sunlight that their 400 foot elevation gain on the valley floor gets them, their red clay hard-pack soil, or any of a hundred possible other variables, Dalla Valle churns out consistently epic wines that have helped set the standard for Napa Cabernet. Says Robert Parker in the wine Advocate: "When you ask the Dalla Valles how they do it, it's the same old answer -- 'it's the vineyard.' The yields are not the lowest, and there does not appear to be any magical formula in the winery, but for whatever reason, these wines turn out to be the stuff of legends. Life is too short not to drink a few bottles of Dalla Valle!"

Under the strict control of first Heidi Barrett, and now winemaker Mia Klein, this estate Cabernet is aged for just under 2 years in 50-60% new French oak and is bottled into approximately 2000 cases of wine each year. In addition to this wine, Dalla Valle also produces less than 500 cases of a second wine called Maya (after their daughter) which is from a select single acre of vineyard which grows what the Dalla Valles believe are their finest grapes. Maya is usually more than 40% Cab Franc.

Tasting Notes:
This wine is an intense dark ruby color and its nose is filled with aromas of black cherries, smoke, chocolate truffles and cedar. In the mouth it gushes with flavors of black cherries, dark plums and dark chocolate. The tannins in this wine are big, but they are incredibly well integrated and very smooth. The has an outrageously long finish which integrates some flavors of incense as it keeps rolling and rolling in your mouth.

Food Pairing:
This is a great candidate for one of the best possible wines to pair with grilled Kobe beef or any other really high-end steak you could attach it to. Got fresh sautéed morels to add? Even better.

Overall Score: 9.5/10

How Much?: $100 - $200

If you're looking for this wine, which I recommend for a special occasion that cries out for a great Cab, try finding it at a store that buys wines at auction or buys entire collections. This will help ensure that you pay on the lower end of the price scale than the upper. In the Bay Area, my choice would be Premier Cru, which looks like it's got the 1998 and the 2000 in stock.

Comments (9)

enoch choi wrote:
11.27.04 at 8:22 PM

never had maya or their cab, but have enjoyed their sangiovese, yummy!

Alder wrote:
11.27.04 at 10:46 PM

I;ve never had their Sangiovese and probably never will, as it seems they have pulled it out and replaced it with Cab.

Geoff Smith wrote:
12.16.04 at 4:17 PM

Dalla Valle both the current vintage (2001) and the fabulous 1999 are available at the St Helena Wine Merchants (800)729-9463. (12/16/2004)

Kelle wrote:
09.17.14 at 6:26 PM

A good pair of custom socks can be worn at a formal gathering
or while taking in a ball game. Struggle no more, Canadian company Geekware have a wide range of irresistible gifts that geeks will give their PCs for, and what's
more, they're all environmentally friendly. Most of the suppliers offer home delivery feature within a few days of
placing order.

Ba8ba.Com wrote:
09.17.14 at 10:12 PM

I constantly spent my half an hour to read this blog's articles or
reviews daily along with a mug of coffee.

Mebel Jepara wrote:
09.18.14 at 1:00 PM

Actually no matter if someone doesn't be aware of then its up to other
visitors that they will assist, so here it takes place.

Mebel Jepara wrote:
09.18.14 at 1:20 PM

I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your
post's to be just what I'm looking for. Do you offer
guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn't mind creating a post or
elaborating on some of the subjects you write about here.
Again, awesome website!

09.22.14 at 12:46 AM

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much,
However I am experiencing problems with your RSS.
I don't understand why I cannot join it. Is there
anybody getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly
respond? Thanks!!

Mebel Jepara wrote:
09.22.14 at 8:08 AM

Greate article. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog.
Im really impressed by your blog.
Hello there, You've done a fantastic job. I'll certainly digg it and for my part
recommend to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited
from this web site.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Tallying the Damage from the Napa Quake Vinography Images: A Sea of Blue Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 14, 2014 The Taste of Something New: Introducing Solminer Wines Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.