Wine Talk

Snooth User: jamessulis

The Delicato Family Vineyards

Posted by jamessulis, Jun 4, 2012.

The other day I took a chance on an obscure bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon priced very very low. It was the descriptor on the back label that convinced me that it was worth a try.  I rated this 2010 Domino Cabernet Sauvignon here on Snooth. I also did a little research on the producers of this wine and found out that it was the Delicato Family Vineyards in Manteca, California. This family is connected with the following items in their library of wines, Gnarly Head, 337, Irony, Bota Box, Loredona, Twisted, Brazin, Delicato, King Fish. I have tasted the King Fish Merlot, the Gnarly Head Cabernet and Twisted brand also and they did quite well with my palate. The Indelicato Family has thousands of acres of wine fields in California and is more like a big business which produces most of all the varietals. I'm posting this as a matter of information for those of you Snoothers who are in the know and love to know more about our wine world here on Snooth.



Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 5, 2012.

Frank Indelicato was a contemporary of the Gallos, Mondavi, Dick Graff at Chalone, and Ernest and Julio Gallo,  the pioneering generation of winemakers (post-John Daniel of Inglenook who was a lone genius, IMO), and Frank is still alive.  As I said at the Mauritson/Rockpile dinner the other night, he's last man standing.  He and my father did some business (my father sold centrifuges which were used in the bulk wine business), so I've met him--he's an unforgettably warm person.  He's made a fair bit of "people's wine," but I always felt that they avoided some of the worst mistakes of the other bulk wineries.  They also have made really respectable varietal wines at decent prices, but aren't really looking to get into the high end.  While the Gallos made their names and ran a cut-throat business, and Mondavi promoted the high end, and Dick Graff brought Pinot attention (dmcker is the one to talk about Graff), Frank and his family quietly made affordable, drinkable wine... and a decent fortune that they re-invested in better vineyards all over the state.  When Frank dies, it will truly be the passing of an era.  And he's living proof that nice guys don't always finish last, but they do last.

Reply by JonDerry, Jun 6, 2012.

Really cool background, thanks Fox...

Reply by EMark, Jun 6, 2012.

I have had Delicato and Gnarly Head wines in the past--the Gnarly Head relatively recently, the several Delicato samples some years ago--and found them to be perfectly functional, nothing to object to wines at a good price.  I had no idea that these labels were related or that other labels that James cited are under the same umbrella.

I will add my thanks to James and Fox for bringing all this information to my attention.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 6, 2012.

If I'm going to buy inexpensive wine from a company that has a jillion labels, I'd take my chances on DFV wines over Wine Group (Cupcake, the trademark infringer of Lefty's favorite wine Layer Cake), Gallo, and a host of other bulk makers.  If you wind up  in a "wine desert," you could do worse at the grocery store.  The FogHead wines come from Monterey County and were a new venture in owning vineyards outside the Central Valley. 

Reply by jamessulis, Jun 6, 2012.


I've tried Cupcake and to tell you the truth it does nothing for me. Tell me more about the infringer you speak of under which Layer Cake is under. I wasn't aware and would like to learn more about it. Layer Cake is one of my favorites but it has been won over by one I rated here last week as a 5.

Here's my new champion: 2007 Jettlynn Cabernet This is an explosion of very well rounded paso robles cabernet sauvignon. The aroma is extremely pleasing. A jammy wine with tastes of blackbery, cherry raspberry, chocolate and a mellow pruney taste. This folks is a winner and a cabernet lovers delight. This is bar none, my favorite wine on the planet. Previous to this one was Layer Cake Malbec which I rated at 4. I will cheerfully rate this at the apex of the Snooth chart, hello number 5 !!!

Reply by Eric Tinch, Jun 6, 2012.

I've had the 337 Cab and enjoyed it.  It was lighter than expected, but well balanced.  I may look for more DFV label on my next trip to the wine store.

Also James, I agree with Cupcake not being too impressive, but I have not had Layer Cake.  I may add this one to the list as well.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 7, 2012.

Short version:  The Wine Group (presumptuous name, but they were the wine group of Coca Cola that was spun off when Coca Cola, which had bought Taylor in NY and a bunch more in CA, realized that wine wasn't a good fit for their portfolio) owns a bunch of not-very-good labels but bottle or wholesale the most or second most wine in the US.  They are being sued by One True Vine, some Napa winemakers who started importing wines under the Layer Cake label because Wine Group created a brand called Cupcake that was suspiciously close in appearance to Layer Cake. Here's a pretty good story from a few years back about the suit. Other than the A*Mano Primitivo, everything made by Wine Group is pretty awful, IMO, but that's no surprise because they are marketing driven to the extreme.  Only difference between them and Gallo is a desire to hide their corporate ownership more deeply under other names, like Underdog Wine Company and the like, and then cap it offf with a generic corporate name.

Reply by jamessulis, Jun 7, 2012.

Thanks Foxall, appreciate the story, very interesting.


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