There’s a lot going on at Del Dotto. Owner Dave Del Dotto has finished building his new underground winery in Rutherford and it’s quite a visual tour de force. I ran into Del Dotto last week and he invited me by for a brief tour and to taste some of his new wines from barrel.
The winery, already known for its lavish tours and lavish use of oak and special oak tastings, has moved into new digs. (It used to be on Atlas Peak Road near the Silverado Country Club.) Inspired by his Venetian heritage, Del Dotto has built an amazingly ornate and elaborate facility that some will think borders on garish.
Think what you might, but it is one of those you have to see to believe experiences, and as of this year it ranks, along with Daryl Sattui’s Castello di Amarosa, as one of the most distinctive and detailed new wineries I’ve visited.
As you can see in this vlog, Del Dotto isn’t shy and his flashy tasting room offers a kaleidoscope of colors, mirrors, Venetian marble, chandeliers and tiles, paintings and frescos, whether you’re looking at the floor, the ceiling or the walls, it’s busy beyond busy. At one point while walking through the barrel room and noticing the fine tile work I wondered aloud: How did the architects or contractors know when they were finished? The intricacy of the tile work is overwhelming.
The tours are expensive (prices are listed on the winery's website), but also unique, as is the sales and marketing program. Del Dotto is selling virtually all of his wine direct, and while that’s not unusual, the fact that he’s selling wine by the case from individual barrels gives him a special market niche. I’ve liked most of the wines in the past, particularly the Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but the winery also makes a Pinot Noir (from the Maritime Vineyard that Del Dotto recently purchased from W.H. Smith) Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Port-style fortified wine. Under the current set up you can make an appointment, tour and taste, and if you like a specific wine, order it on the spot.
I have to say I can’t recall anything quite like his new underground winery. I was also very impressed by the new Del Dotto wines and he has a new winemaker, Gerald Zanzonico, who joined the staff after a stint at Staglin and before that Chateau Montelena.
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — December 10, 2007 5:29pm ET
J J Gallagher — Near Napa, Ca — December 10, 2007 6:25pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — December 10, 2007 7:08pm ET
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Paul Rakovich — Las Vegas — December 10, 2007 9:45pm ET
Georgia Groff — Saint Helena, CA. — December 10, 2007 11:47pm ET
James Suckling — — December 11, 2007 4:35am ET
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