2017 Dalla Valle Maya
Robert Parker | 97+ RP
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RP
The tiny production 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Maya is another thrilling wine. The normal blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc that was brought up in two-thirds new French oak, it offers a full-bodied, concentrated, yet sensationally elegant style as well as fab notes of crème de cassis, chocolate, graphite, and scorched earth. It’s a primordial example of this cuvée that has ripe tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great, great finish. Do your best to give bottles 4-6 years of bottle age.
Jeb Dunnuck | 97+ JD
The 2017 Maya is not only gorgeous, it also appears to have handled the rigors of the growing season more successfully than the others. Ripe red cherry and plum fruit, blood orange, pomegranate, mint and spice all build as this racy, sumptuous wine shows off its considerable allure. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are just magic here.
Antonio Galloni | 96 AG
Tiny production from the eastern hills of Oakville. If you love Bordeaux wines it’s such a treat to taste a blend of just Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, something that you rarely see in the Médoc. It works extremely well, with an aromatic kick of raspberry leaf and violet flowers but the key to the body is coffee, bilberry, rosemary, mulberry and cloves. Great acidity set against power and concentration. The savoury edge that makes Cabernet such a delicious food-friendly wine is here, and is extremely elegant and refined but with a punch and undertow. Good stuff, with long ageing potential. 75% new oak. Drinking Window 2022 - 2042.
Decanter | 95 DEC
The plum and chocolate, as well as hazelnut and dried-flower character is prevalent here. It’s full-bodied, yet very refined with lovely, polished tannins and a long, crisp finish. Balanced and focused. Drink or hold.
James Suckling | 95 JS
Solidly built, with ganache, plum, fig paste, smoldering tobacco and loam notes rolled together, ending with a muscular feel on the dark finish. Reveals a strong tug of terroir. Will need some time to stretch out fully. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2035. 800 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Wine Details for 2017 Dalla Valle Maya
|Type of Wine
: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
: Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.
: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.
Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
: Sometimes dreams must die in order for new ones to take hold, grow and prosper. In the early 1980’s, Gustav and Naoko Dalla Valle moved to Napa Valley with plans to build a luxury resort and restaurant. They were introduced to a small piece of property in the rugged hills of Oakville. After discovering the major hurdles they would need to clear in order to build the resort but also the potential for growing premium grape varietals, they decided to cultivate the land and become winegrowers. They may not have dreamt that the rocky, iron-rich soils of their 20-acre estate would become the site of a Napa First Growth nor envisioned it rising to “cult” status or becoming one of California’s most sought after and iconic brands. But… dreams do come true.
Dalla Valle’s debut vintage was in 1986, which was the birth of their estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. It was also the year their daughter was conceived. The following year, when Maya was born, a 5-acre block of Cabernet Sauvignon was planted in her name and would become one of the most revered winegrowing sites in America. Years later, this sensational vineyard yielded the 1992 Dalla Valle Maya, which would go on to earn a 100-point score from legendary critic, Robert Parker and the estate’s first professional perfect rating.
Sadly, Gustav passed away in 1995; however, Naoko has continued to be a guiding force, quietly earning a reputation as one of Napa Valley’s most respected vintners. She is the embodiment of a hands-on owner, recognized as a passionate farmer, and firm believer that great wines are made in the vineyard. In 2017, Naoko was joined by her daughter, Maya, a gifted winemaker who learned the trade working at some of the world’s most iconic wineries. Together they have passionately continued the dream that started in 1986 with the first bottling of Dalla Valle.
The estate’s 20 acres located on the eastern hillside of Oakville at an elevation reaching 450 feet, sees a plentitude of sunshine. Constant breezes off the San Pablo Bay influence a cooler temperature allowing the grapes to retain natural acidity. The terroir is composed of mineral-rich, volcanic soils which allow the perfect amount of drainage required by the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Dalla Valle focuses on a holistic approach to vineyard health and vitality, where cover crops are grown, composting, and natural soil additives are employed.
Dalla Valle produces three main wines; Cabernet Sauvignon, Maya, and Collina. The Collina is the newest offering and is blended from the estates youngest vines. It is quite approachable upon release but much like the rest of the line-up can be enjoyed for up to a decade or longer. The Cabernet Sauvignon and the original bottling from the estate generally contain at least 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot and is sourced from the best blocks. The signature blend of Maya is nearly half Cabernet Sauvignon, half Cabernet Franc but varies on the vintage. The Cabernet is sourced from the “Maya” block which consistently produces the most compelling wine on the estate. It is one of the longest lived wines from California and can take over a decade before starting to express its full character.
A mere 3,000 cases are produced annually for the entire portfolio of Dalla Valle wines which are reserved for sale through a private mailing list only. When and if these wines reach the market, they are quickly procured by enthusiasts who typically keep an eye out for them.