The 1996 vintage started off with a warm spring and early bud break, but uncharacteristic rain in May caused problems with flowering and shatter, reducing the size of the crop by as much as 20-30% in some vineyards. A relatively hot summer followed, with several intense heat waves that pushed ripening ahead, but left the fruit in an uneven state of ripeness. Green harvesting, canopy management, and careful selection allowed growers to sort out the troublesome bunches, and those who meticulously worked their vineyards, as always, made the best wines. During the summer heat spikes, many vineyards suffered in the hot, dry conditions, and as harvest approached, some were pushed to pick early as sugars raced off and acids dropped.
Fortunately, a dry and mild September prolonged hang-time and allowed slow, steady, even-handed ripening, and the Indian summer conditions continued until after the harvest and into November. Those who made it through the late summer heat were able to take advantage of the fine conditions that followed, picking grapes at optimum maturity. The result is a somewhat variable vintage, with some good to very good wines that lack the stuffing to be great, and others that are excellent, with beautiful ripeness, structure, and depth.
About Dalla Valle Vineyards
Dalla Valle Vineyards
Naoko Dalla Valle
Dalla Valle Vineyards was the project of husband and wife duo Gustav and Naoko Dalla Valle. The couple founded Dalla Valle in 1986, in the eastern hills of Oakville, a site which benefits from extended sun exposure and cooling gusts from the pacific. Sadly, Gustav passed away in 1995, leaving Naoko to continue their venture herself. With the help of Michel Rolland, Naoko has been producing sappy, dense, flamboyantly rich wines loaded with black fruits, minerals, flowers and bitter chocolate, for almost 20 years now. The avidly sought Maya bottling, which is produced in very limited quantities -- only 500 cases per year -- combines Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in almost equal proportions. And though the wines have a serious tannic structure, they are rarely hard or dry.
Wines Made: Maya, Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon and Collina Dalla Valle
Terroir: Naturally low-yielding soils composed primarily of fractured volcanic rock. Excellent drainage and god exposure to sunlight (almost an hour more thatn the vines ofn the valley floor).