NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

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Erin Di Costanzo
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NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#1 Post by Erin Di Costanzo » January 16th, 2020, 11:07 pm

Hi all, thanks for welcoming our project into the mix here for Berserker Day for the first time. We are excited to join in the fun.

Di Costanzo is a family winery committed to sustainable, heritage winemaking and to living well with the world and those around us. Our focus is California Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the early 2000’s Massimo was fresh out of the University of California Davis with a diploma in Viticulture and Enology in one hand and a passport in the other. He had no ties to the wine world, but a heart full of passion, and so he set out to learn under the masters, starting from the ground up dragging wine hoses and walking vineyards in Italy, South Africa, and Argentina. Back home in California, he continued to hone his craft, working in Napa with Ovid, Screaming Eagle, and Phillipe Melka.

I was drawn from my native Alaska to New York, following my passion for culture and the culinary arts. I started my career as a sommelier in one of NYC’s highest grossing wine programs (Del Frisco’s). Drawn to wine country, I drove cross-country to Saint Helena to run the wine program at PRESS in St. Helena, and over the last decade I made my reputation as a tastemaker and wine expert while running a top Napa wine retail shop.

In 2010 with nervous hands and steady hearts, the first chapter of our dream began with the debut vintage of Di Costanzo Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Farella Vineyard in Coombsville. We now make four single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons: Farella, Montecillo (debut vintage coming to our list on 1/28), Caldwell (first vintage: 2018) and DI CO, sourced entirely from the Rafael Vineyard in Oak Knoll, at the base of Mt. Veeder. Our trademark style is Cabernet with tension, with freshness and a varietally true reflection of each vineyard. We like to think that we live at that stylistic happy place right in between old school and modern. In fact, we started the brand because we saw room at the table for wines like these, wines that people weren’t really making here in the Napa Valley.

We live and work together here in St. Helena, where we are raising our two young kids. Please come join me for a tasting! Every bottle of wine we share with you all means a great deal to us. Thanks for being a part of this dream.

- Erin + Massimo Di Costanzo
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#2 Post by Glen Gold » January 17th, 2020, 8:24 am

I highly recommend Di Costanzo - I've been a fan for a few vintages now, and I'm thrilled they're doing berserkerday. I'm racking (wracking? whatever it is you do to brains) my brain for a good comparison. The wines are bold and elegant at the same time. Different than, say, Mike Smith's excelllent cuvées, but just as pleasurable, with a kind of classical structure that reminds me more of old world cabernets. One of the Leovilles in a warm year, maybe? Domaine de Chevalier? Also I keep noting these hard-to-pin-down spice elements that arise after the bottle is open a few hours that make the experience even more intriguing. It's one of the first wines that I fell for without critics having their hands on my shoulders, and here's some validation that I wasn't insane -- their second wine, DI CO, is currently a by the glass thing at TFL.
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#3 Post by T. Melloni » January 17th, 2020, 8:54 am

Erin - So glad to see you and Massimo as part of the community here.

For folks not familiar with the wines, these are well-made, elegant and high quality wines.
The cab from the Farella vineyard reminds me of some of the Dominus wines from the mid 1990s, showing elegance and intensity in balance and with personality.
The Di Co is a fantastic value. I look forward to trying the Montecillo.
Customer service has also been excellent.

We have so many opportunities to buy quality wines; for me, when making decisions about what wines to buy, I prefer to support people that are nice and of good character and integrity. My impression is that Erin and Massimo fit that description. Count me as a fan.
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#4 Post by brigcampbell » January 17th, 2020, 12:04 pm

T. Melloni wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 8:54 am
Erin - So glad to see you and Massimo as part of the community here.

For folks not familiar with the wines, these are well-made, elegant and high quality wines.
The cab from the Farella vineyard reminds me of some of the Dominus wines from the mid 1990s, showing elegance and intensity in balance and with personality.
The Di Co is a fantastic value. I look forward to trying the Montecillo.
Customer service has also been excellent.

We have so many opportunities to buy quality wines; for me, when making decisions about what wines to buy, I prefer to support people that are nice and of good character and integrity. My impression is that Erin and Massimo fit that description. Count me as a fan.
wow, strong props.

You have to post that during BD11 into the actual offer thread. People respect your palate and opinions (and you're nice guy too)

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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#5 Post by YLee » January 17th, 2020, 12:39 pm

Glad Di Costanzo is part of BD. Looking forward to the offers. I am very picky on BD but this is one I will purchase.
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#6 Post by Anton D » January 17th, 2020, 4:34 pm

Glen Gold wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 8:24 am
I highly recommend Di Costanzo - I've been a fan for a few vintages now, and I'm thrilled they're doing berserkerday. I'm racking (wracking? whatever it is you do to brains) my brain for a good comparison. The wines are bold and elegant at the same time. Different than, say, Mike Smith's excelllent cuvées, but just as pleasurable, with a kind of classical structure that reminds me more of old world cabernets. One of the Leovilles in a warm year, maybe? Domaine de Chevalier? Also I keep noting these hard-to-pin-down spice elements that arise after the bottle is open a few hours that make the experience even more intriguing. It's one of the first wines that I fell for without critics having their hands on my shoulders, and here's some validation that I wasn't insane -- their second wine, DI CO, is currently a by the glass thing at TFL.
Just the way you tried to describe the fit makes me want to try it.

Thanks!
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#7 Post by NoahR » January 17th, 2020, 4:39 pm

Highly recommended. Fantastic cabs
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#8 Post by F.Daner » January 18th, 2020, 2:32 am

Great to see Erin and Massimo on the board. I am a big fan of their wines and they really hit the sweet spot for me for Napa Cab. Here are my notes from a visit in October. Can't say enough about them and love supporting folks like them and others who put everything they have in their business.

2017 DiCo- Like the 16 this is sourced from the Rafael vineyard. Deep and dark with notes of sage and black fruit. This really opened up over time and more then held it's own next to the 2 very serious wines next to it. Nice energy and freshness run through the wine. It developed additional complexity and character as it opened. I will let mine spend some time in the cellar when they arrive but can be enjoyed now with decanting. A great value in Napa Cabernet. Very good with upside

2016 Di Costanzo Farella- I've had the 13 and 14 recently and am a big fan of what Massimo does with Farella. The 16 I believe is the best yet. It's a bit deeper, darker and slightly more savory than the 14. There is great energy and verve balanced by friendly tannin that makes the wine very approachable now. There is a great note of dark cocoa running through the finish. It will be hard to leave these alone as its terrific now but will want to try this in a few years as I think some additional time in bottle will help. Outstanding and if I had to put a number 96 points with upside for me

2017 Montecillo - Really cool story behind how several producers are now getting access to this vineyard in the Moon Mountain AVA. It will be a fun tasting in a few years to try these wines together if I can source them all. I believe Bedrock, Di Costanzo, Turley and Ketan Mody's Beta Wines made a 2017. Massimo's was my first to try from this area. Another wow wine with deep dark fruit, tremendous energy and reflective of Massimo's style of letting the place and wine speak for itself. The savory finish has a slight herb and black pepper note which reminds me of some of the great Sonoma wines I've had in the past. This is very young now but showed well with time in the decanter. Outstanding now but let this one rest for a few years.
Fred

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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#9 Post by Andrew Demaree » January 18th, 2020, 7:21 am

Great to see the high praise here for the wines (and the people, which is also important to me). As someone who joined the list but hasn’t yet tried the wines due to too many competing offers around the same time, BD 11 may just be the right time to dive in. So glad to see you participating here.

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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#10 Post by DIANAD » January 18th, 2020, 12:16 pm

Sounds like a winery I’ll have to add to my tasting schedule later this month!
D A Y

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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#11 Post by Glen Gold » January 18th, 2020, 6:09 pm

I see that Galloni guy is a fan. Not sure that I should break the paywall, so here's what he says for free:
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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#12 Post by MikeVenezia » January 18th, 2020, 10:44 pm

Can’t speak highly enough about Erin and Massimo’s wines. Had a great experience tasting with Erin recently and DI CO tops our list of value cabs in Napa Valley. Great people and great wine! Can’t wait to get ahold of some Caldwell!

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Re: Di Costanzo Wines

#13 Post by F.Daner » January 19th, 2020, 8:24 am

We did ours over lunch and had a great time and loved the wines.
DIANAD wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 12:16 pm
Sounds like a winery I’ll have to add to my tasting schedule later this month!
Fred

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#14 Post by Rob M » January 19th, 2020, 10:34 am

I can't add much but can echo what everyone has said thus far, fantastic wines made with restraint and one of a small handful of Napa wines I buy. And Massimo and Erin have been amazing hosts the two times I've been able to visit.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#15 Post by NickRut » January 19th, 2020, 8:13 pm

May be the only BD offer I get in on. Huge fan.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#16 Post by Mark Jaffee » January 20th, 2020, 9:22 am

These Wines are terrible. Don't buy them!

Just kidding! Been on the list for a few years and they are wonderful. But please, don't buy too much so there is some left for me!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#17 Post by Jeff_M. » January 20th, 2020, 11:23 am

This is looking like a strong buy for me. Looking forward to BD next week.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#18 Post by Frank Z » January 21st, 2020, 1:47 pm

Have also tasted with Erin a number of times and the wines are really good (even better considering the value)! Whenever I am unsure what wine to drink/pair, I usually end up pulling a DI CO. Definitely looking forward to the Berserker Day offer as well as the formal release the next day.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#19 Post by grovertrask » January 23rd, 2020, 11:44 am

I'm starting to get excited. This new find is peaking my interest.

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#20 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 24th, 2020, 7:55 am

Interesting to see these wines described in terms of old-world styles (LLC? Domaine de Chevalier?). The one Galloni review I read described the wine as plush and explosive. Anyone care to comment further on the intended style of the wines?
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#21 Post by Frank Z » January 24th, 2020, 8:10 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 7:55 am
Interesting to see these wines described in terms of old-world styles (LLC? Domaine de Chevalier?). The one Galloni review I read described the wine as plush and explosive. Anyone care to comment further on the intended style of the wines?
Last year I did a comparison between the Realm Farella and the Di Costanzo Farella, and the Di Costanzo was more elegant and polished, as well as more restrained, IMO. So, if I had to describe it, it would be new-world winemaking in an old-world style.

For the record, I personally enjoyed the Di Costanzo one better, so I stopped buying the Realm (even though I still buy their other wines!) [cheers.gif]
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#22 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 24th, 2020, 8:24 am

That’s helpful Frank. Thanks.
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#23 Post by Brian Tuite » January 24th, 2020, 8:40 am

Looking forward to this offer Erin. I miss seeing you at that top Napa wine retail shop every Thursday. Welcome to Berserker Day!
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#24 Post by Erin Di Costanzo » January 24th, 2020, 11:34 am

Frank Z wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 8:10 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 7:55 am
Interesting to see these wines described in terms of old-world styles (LLC? Domaine de Chevalier?). The one Galloni review I read described the wine as plush and explosive. Anyone care to comment further on the intended style of the wines?
Last year I did a comparison between the Realm Farella and the Di Costanzo Farella, and the Di Costanzo was more elegant and polished, as well as more restrained, IMO. So, if I had to describe it, it would be new-world winemaking in an old-world style.

For the record, I personally enjoyed the Di Costanzo one better, so I stopped buying the Realm (even though I still buy their other wines!) [cheers.gif]
Thanks Neal and thanks Frank for chiming in...

Neal, I agree with and appreciate Galloni's kind descriptions of our '18 Farella. Having tasted that wine two days ago, I would agree with explosive, in that the wine is deeply layered and dimensional, packing a punch in terms of depth of flavor, if not necessarily in terms of breadth and palate weight. And as a young wine, the '18 does show some pleasing plushiness. But overall, we like to think of our wines as having some points in common with Barolo, as well as Bordeaux, drawing a parallel to those Piedmont wines that exhibit power, dimension, ageability and structure without necessarily being weighty or broad on the palate. Finding that energy and tension between the fruit, the acid and the tannin is our goal. They are still California Cabernets, no doubt, but we hope to achieve a style that shows a nod to the wider world of wine. TL;DR, the intended style is Goldilocks. Not too big, not too lean, just right :-)
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#25 Post by Mark Morrissette » January 25th, 2020, 1:16 pm

Sounds great, and excited to try these.

Can anyone offer thoughts on agreeability or drinking window? (I have checked CT, but curious if there are any specific opinions.)
Better still, Erin, what do you recommend?
Thank you!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#26 Post by brigcampbell » January 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm

Mark Morrissette wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Sounds great, and excited to try these.

Can anyone offer thoughts on agreeability or drinking window? (I have checked CT, but curious if there are any specific opinions.)
Better still, Erin, what do you recommend?
Thank you!
Does anyone know what wine they're offering for BD11? neener

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#27 Post by Erin Di Costanzo » January 25th, 2020, 5:03 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Mark Morrissette wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Sounds great, and excited to try these.

Can anyone offer thoughts on agreeability or drinking window? (I have checked CT, but curious if there are any specific opinions.)
Better still, Erin, what do you recommend?
Thank you!
Does anyone know what wine they're offering for BD11? neener
Mark, I will be terribly diplomatic and unhelpful when I tell you that I have greatly enjoyed every bottle of DI CO and Di Costanzo I've opened ... and yet each one has been opened too soon. All of them are agers. Not to say that with a decant and a meal, I haven't derived immense pleasure from the wines. And, again seeing the DI CO BTG at places like EMP & TFL (LOL) does signify that I am not the only one who likes how they show now, in their relative youth. And recent wine dinners pouring the 2013 and 2014 have been really satisfying. But short answer, age age age. Might have been a typo in your original post, but I'd say both agreeable and ageable ;-)
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#28 Post by Mark Morrissette » January 25th, 2020, 6:27 pm

Erin Di Costanzo wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 5:03 pm
brigcampbell wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Mark Morrissette wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Sounds great, and excited to try these.

Can anyone offer thoughts on agreeability or drinking window? (I have checked CT, but curious if there are any specific opinions.)
Better still, Erin, what do you recommend?
Thank you!
Does anyone know what wine they're offering for BD11? neener
Mark, I will be terribly diplomatic and unhelpful when I tell you that I have greatly enjoyed every bottle of DI CO and Di Costanzo I've opened ... and yet each one has been opened too soon. All of them are agers. Not to say that with a decant and a meal, I haven't derived immense pleasure from the wines. And, again seeing the DI CO BTG at places like EMP & TFL (LOL) does signify that I am not the only one who likes how they show now, in their relative youth. And recent wine dinners pouring the 2013 and 2014 have been really satisfying. But short answer, age age age. Might have been a typo in your original post, but I'd say both agreeable and ageable ;-)
Music to my ears in every way!

Great to hear they are (ahem)... agreeable... at any age, and even better with age! I am sold!

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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#29 Post by T Fletcher » January 25th, 2020, 7:07 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Mark Morrissette wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Sounds great, and excited to try these.

Can anyone offer thoughts on agreeability or drinking window? (I have checked CT, but curious if there are any specific opinions.)
Better still, Erin, what do you recommend?
Thank you!
Does anyone know what wine they're offering for BD11? neener
Big jerk right here!

Regardless of what it is, I can't wait for this offer!
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Re: NEWBIE INTRO: Di Costanzo Wines

#30 Post by Diane Kessler » January 26th, 2020, 5:51 am

Erin Di Costanzo wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 5:03 pm
brigcampbell wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Mark Morrissette wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Sounds great, and excited to try these.

Can anyone offer thoughts on agreeability or drinking window? (I have checked CT, but curious if there are any specific opinions.)
Better still, Erin, what do you recommend?
Thank you!
Does anyone know what wine they're offering for BD11? neener
Mark, I will be terribly diplomatic and unhelpful when I tell you that I have greatly enjoyed every bottle of DI CO and Di Costanzo I've opened ... and yet each one has been opened too soon. All of them are agers. Not to say that with a decant and a meal, I haven't derived immense pleasure from the wines. And, again seeing the DI CO BTG at places like EMP & TFL (LOL) does signify that I am not the only one who likes how they show now, in their relative youth. And recent wine dinners pouring the 2013 and 2014 have been really satisfying. But short answer, age age age. Might have been a typo in your original post, but I'd say both agreeable and ageable ;-)
I opened a 2013 last week and it was gorgeous. Deep fruit supported by good structure. I had a small remaining glass 2 days later and it was even prettier. I opened my first bottle about 3 years ago, and it showed better on the second day. I agree, age age age. I will do that with my last bottle.

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