There are not any pure born winemakers; the career calls for a substantial amount of research after which years of fixed refinement and innovation earlier than one can earn this function. For Maya Dalla Valle, winemaker on the eponymous Napa Valley property, this has actually been true, however perhaps the explanation she excels at her job is that wine flows by way of her veins. How might it not, when her mother and father created certainly one of America’s most prestigious wineries?
Located on a hillside above Oakville, Dalla Valle Vineyards launched their first purple wine from the 1986 classic. One yr later, Maya was born and in that very same yr, her mother and father Gustav and Naoko planted Maya’s Winery, a five-acre web site at their property. “The Maya winery is the very best block of Cabernet Sauvignon that my mother and father planted earlier than I used to be born,” Dalla Valle remarks. “Then once I was born, they thought it could be a candy thought to call a winery after me. And now 34 years later, I’m making it!”
The Maya wine, a mix of property Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, is in the present day thought of one of many true gems from Napa Valley, an space famend for its vinous treasures. Famed wine critic Robert Parker awarded the 1992 classic an ideal 100 factors, which Dalla Valle says “actually put us on the map.” Her ideas relating to this historic second are perpetually linked to her father. “That type of coincided with my dad’s passing. He knew we had acquired this rating earlier than he handed away. Bob Parker knew that he was fairly sick, he had most cancers, and he despatched a complicated copy (of that specific problem of Wine Advocate, his publication) to us. He handed away figuring out that we had been going to be OK.”
At this time Dalla Valle works along with her mom Naoko and a small staff within the vineyards and cellar, however arriving at this juncture took a few years of schooling, with a lot of that in Europe. After incomes a grasp’s diploma in viticulture and enology from Cornell College in New York State, she attended France’s prestigious Bordeaux Science Agro, the place she acquired a Grasp of Enterprise and Science diploma in winery and vineyard administration. She gained invaluable expertise working at famed Bordeaux estates similar to Chateau Petrus and Latour, and appears again fondly on these days, recalling the variations between viticultural philosophy in France and America. “I believe the massive distinction between this college and UC Davis or Cornell is that you just’re tied to all the highest chateau in Bordeaux. They hyperlink very intently and do plenty of analysis with the college. It actually offers you that sensibility to actually be taught wonderful wine and high quality winemaking versus quantity or mass manufacturing of wine, and I believe that’s an enormous distinction with the European schooling versus American.”
She additionally labored in Tuscany at Ornellaia – she just lately inaugurated a challenge using the skills of wine director Axel Heinz from that property alongside along with her personal enter to create a brand new wine, produced from Dalla Valle property fruit known as DVO – in addition to in Argentina, earlier than returning house to Napa Valley in 2017. “My mother made this sweeping assertion, ‘When you come again, you’re by no means leaving.’ I actually took that very significantly.”
At this time, together with the Maya purple wine – produced totally from the very best block of Cabernet Sauvignon from the eponymous property winery – she additionally produces an property Cabernet Sauvignon and a blended purple known as Collina Dalle Valle (”the hill of Dalla Valle”) that’s extra approachable upon launch than the opposite wines. The present releases of the final two wines is 2018, a classic that Dalla Valle calls “distinctive.” Not like a few years in Napa, the rising season that yr was average. “The summer time was simply nice,” she remembers. “I imply even temperatures, traditional foggy evenings, good and funky in the course of the day, reaching about 85 to 88 levels; nothing actually excessive when it comes to warmth. That continued by way of the autumn, so that you had this uncommon luxurious the place you are not compelled to select and make choices based mostly on climate, you actually might choose it while you felt it was the proper time, with none type of climate restraints.
“It was a really lengthy harvest for us, most likely one of many longest we have ever had; it took a month and often we’re at two to a few weeks of selecting. The final grapes we picked had been October 23rd.”
All through Napa Valley, wines of notable construction and excellent cellar potential had been realized by dozens of estates from the 2018 classic. When does Dalla Valle assume the wines might be at peak consuming? “These wines are going to stay an extended, very long time. The Collina could be very approachable now, but it surely additionally has the capability to age. We just lately opened vintages of Collina from 2013 and 2010 and people wines had been fabulous. My peak consuming for Collina, I might say between 5 and ten years. Peak consuming for the Cabernet Sauvignon – I at all times say to attend, in case you can wait – between 10 and 15 years.
“We’re consuming wine from our house from our cellars from the early 90s, to allow them to stay 30 years; it’s not an issue.”
How rewarding it should be for Maya Dalla Valle to be crafting these distinctive wines from an property constructed by her mother and father. How great for wine lovers to know that she might be refining her craft and persevering with the marvelous observe report at Dalla Valle for years to return.
Dalla Valle Vineyards “Collina della Valle” 2018 (Napa Valley Crimson Wine)
A mix of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. Intense, deep purple with aromas of black currant, blueberry and hints of darkish chocolate and violets. Medium-full with spectacular focus; superb acidity, fantastically built-in oak and velvety tannins. The end affords spectacular size, and there are notes of blueberry and black cherry. Very vivid, interesting black fruit flavors, that is very properly balanced and has the construction to cellar for 10-12 years, though it may be loved over the subsequent 3-5 years. (93)
Dalla Valle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Oakville, Napa Valley)
A mix of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc and a couple of% Petit Verdot. Deep purple; aromas of black currant, blackberry, and hints of cinnamon and black licorice. Medium-full to full-bodied with glorious depth of fruit; there is superb acidity, whereas the tannins are fairly agency, however very properly balanced. The oak notes are extraordinarily properly built-in and there may be glorious persistence. This has a wealthy, well-structured mid-palate and the end is layered with ripe black fruit notes. That is prime proof of the exceptional fruit from this property from an impressive rising season. Lay this manner for a number of years so it could actually reveal all its glories. Peak in 15-25 years, maybe longer. (97)