Tasting Notes: 1999 Coffaro Wines
    Tom Hill, January 10, 2001
  1. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley Carignan (75% Carignan, 9%PS, 9% CabFranc, 7% CS; 13.2%; 245 cs) '99: Med.dark color; light earthy/dusty/spicy/black cherry lovelt/perfumed nose; tart bright cherry/ cherry cola light dusty flavor; long bright cherry/cola/Cheracol light dusty finish w/ some tannins; one of the best Calif Carignans I've had w/o the hard/raspy tannins they often seem to have; needs several yrs. $13.50
  2. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley Zin (75% Zin, 8% PS, 7% CS, 7% CabFranc, 3% Barbera; 14.4%; 985 cs) '99: Dark color; much more blackberry/raspberry/spicy very fragrant classic DCV slight bretty nose; tart very spicy/bright/raspberry/blackberry/perfumed bit tight clean flavor; long very spicy/blackberry/raspberry/aromatic clean finish w/ light tannins; loads of classic DCV/spicy/ raspberry/Zin character. $13.50
  3. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley RW Estate Cuvee (32% CS, 29% Zin, 27% Carignan, 12% PS; 13.6%; 590 cs) '99: Med.dark color; dusty bit smokey/pungent/spicy some blackcurranty.cinammon/cloves slight pencilly/oak complex nose; soft/round dusty/old vine complex/aromatic/spicy/cinammon/cloves some blackcurranty flavor; very spicy cinammon/cloves/fragrant slight blackcurranty/Cab finish w/ light tannins; a lovely/drinkable/complex red wine; the Cab seems to show more but it has a certain spicy aromaticity probably from the Zin. $13.50
  4. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Franc (77% CabFranc, 10% Syrah, 10% PS, 3% CS; 13.9%;440 cs) '99: Dark color; strong pungent/licorice/chocolaty perfumed some pencilly/oak nose; soft bit herbal/ blackcurranty/earthy/pungent licorice/chocolaty/spicy flavor; long slight herbal some chocolaty/ licorice/blackcurranty/deep finish w/ some tannins; seems rather a more serious/ageable wine with good Cabernet character. $13.50
  5. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah (75% PS, 11% Sirah, 6% CS, 4% Zin, 4% Barbera; 13.7%; 440 cs) '99: Very dark color; bright spicy/dusty bit peppery/chocolaty/berry slight metallic aromatic/fruity light pencilly/oak nose; rich/balanced bright fruity/cherry bit peppery/chocolaty spicy/fragrant flavor; soft bright cherry/chocolaty/berry/peppery dusty bit tannic light pencilly/ oak finish; lots of bright fruit and not the usual PS/clunky/clumsey character. $13.50
  6. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley RW Aca Modot (56% CS, 20% CabFranc, 9% Barbera, 8% Merlot, 7% Malbec; 13.6%; 250 cs) '99: Very dark color; strong chocolaty/fragrant/smokey deeper/spicy slight herbal bit blackcurranty/Cab some pencilly/perfumed/oak nose; fairly big/rich complex/herbal/Cab/ blackcurranty very spicy/perfumed some smokey/pencilly/oak flavor; very long/rich/ripe/lush some blackcurranty/Cab/herbal/chocolaty light smokey/oaked complex/balanced finish w/ some tannins; fairly classic ripe DCV Cab; not particularly big/extracted but wonderful aromatics and good drinkability; will age. $17.25
  7. David Coffaro Dry Creek Valley RW Block 4 (Field blend: 40% PS of 3 clones, 40% Zin, 20% others including Carignan & Syrah; 100 yr old vines; 15.2%; 50 cs) '99: Very dark color; deep blackberry/boysenberry dusty/old vines licorice/chocolaty/ripe complex/perfumed/aromatic loads of fruit nose; tar rich/ripe blackberry/boysenberry/chocolaty aromatic very ripe flavor; very long blackberry/boysenberry dusty/old vines perfumed/chocolaty complex finish w/ some tannins; more like RussianRiver Zin than DCV; carries the alcohol well and little overipe or raisened character; killer wine. $20.00
  8. * * * *

    The prices are, obviously, Dave's future's prices from two years ago. Retail prices when they're released will be mid- $20's. I received these wines in early November but Dave admonished me they need a bit of time and suggested I hold off on tasting thru them. Alas, just couldn't wait any longer.

    The wines are beautifully fragrant wines that are a true joy to drink now, though seemingly a bit tight on the palate. But I expect them to get much better over the next six months or so, if'n you have a little patience. I would say that, across the board, the '99's may be Dave's most successful vintage yet. They are classic Coffaro wines; not particularly big vis a vis other Calif wines, but they all display great balance and have a lovely perfumed spiciness to them. Obviously, he does a lot of blending on all his wines; blends that simply don't display much rhyme nor reason to me.

    In some of the past vintages, I felt the Coffaro winemaking style was dominant in the wines at the expense of varietal character. In this set of '99's, the Coffaro character is certainly there but I thought they displayed more varietal character than the ones I had tasted in the past at this same time in their evolution. That is to say, in the past, at this point, I've found a lot of sameness/consistency amongst the wines. With the '99's, they seem to show much more individuality across the selection.

    One of the pecularities I noted in this yr's release was that some of the wines stated "estate bottled" and some did not. Not quite sure why that difference; would presume those w/o EB indicate wines that contain purchased grapes. Another pecularity: In the CabFranc, it's spelled "Syrah" on the label. In the PetiteSirah, it's spelled "Sirah" on the label. Wonder why??

    The Aca Modot is mostly a Cabernet-based wine that comes from a slightly higher part of his vnyd where the Aca Modot tribe used to dwell in ancient times (even before TomHill's time!!). When you walk thru that part of the vnyd and dig down a bit into the soil, you can scuff up pot sherds, arrowheads, blackened rocks from their campfires, bones from their meals, and broken roulette wheels from their gambling casinos. It's usually the biggest and most serious wine Dave makes each year. This year is no exception.

    The Block 4 is a new wine for Dave. Tiny amount. This is the block of grapes that used to go to Doug Nalle for his Zin, but now Dave keeps for himself. It's easily the biggest Zin that Dave has ever made. It speaks more of varietal Zin and less of David Coffaro than any other wine. Superb stuff. With this '99 vintage, Dave uses Stu Yaniger's NeoCork. Always marching to the beat of his own drummer; Dave's the first in the Dry Creek Valley to do this that I'm aware of. Good move IMHO. The NeoCork is far superior to those ugly SupremeCorqs and much much easier to remove.

    Dave's 2001 futures offering will be coming out in late Feb/early March. The prices can't be beat and they're one of the safest gambles around I'd have to say. Anyway, another great release from Dave Coffaro. And, just like everyone else, I wisht I'd bought more!!

  • Tasting Notes: 1999 Coffaro Wines

  • Tom Hill, January 10, 2001