The 1998 vintage was a difficult year for growers, who had to contend with the machinations of an El Niño weather pattern that brought unusually cool weather and rain, both early in the spring and sporadically later in the season. The resulting fruit set was small and late. Temperatures in the summer ranged significantly from cooler than normal, to a few periods of heat where growers were concerned with sunburn. The result was uneven ripeness, irregular-sized berries, and an overall sluggish ripening.
Once again, hard work in the vineyard would be critical to getting the vines balanced and removing any unripe berries and bunches. A period of fine, dry, and warm weather finally arrived in late September, and the stubbornly late harvest got under way and continued into late October, with some wineries finishing as late as November. Notably, this was something that would not occur again until 2011.
Unusually cool weather and rain caused by El Niño
Drastic temperature swings
Harvest finally begins after a period of warm weather
Harvest draws to a close, very late
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).