Bella Union: A Pretty Cab from Napa Valley’s Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel

Bella Union is a brand that was established by the partners of Napa Valley’s well-known Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel wineries in 2012. The art of blending Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the focus of the Bella Union winemaking team, in contrast to the single-variety, single-vineyard wines of Nickel & Nickel and the estate wines of Far Niente with its historic 19th century stone winery.

The 25-acre Bella Union vineyard, located along Bella Union Lane in Rutherford, is the inspiration for this wine. The vineyard’s loamy soils are planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon vines that are 20 to 30 years of age. Cabernet Sauvignon is also sourced from the DeCarle Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench. Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from other notable Napa Valley vineyards round out the blend. We received this wine as a tasting sample.

2018 Bella Union Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley photo
2018 Bella Union Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

2018 Bella Union Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valleydense ruby with generous aromas of ripe plums, blackberries and dried brush. The flavors lead with ripe boysenberries, blackberries, plums and currants with hints of earth and spices. The flavors are juicy and supported by nice acidity and fine, drying tannins in a medium body. 14.5% abv. SRP $80

This Cabernet is juicy and fruit forward, making it very easy drinking (almost too easy drinking!) The fruit flavors are ripe, but fresh at the same time, and the tannins are very well integrated. I’m inclined to reach for Dori Greenspan’s cookbook, Around My French Table, and make Hachis Parmentier (an elevated Shepherd’s Pie) as a pairing.

In addition to Nickel & Nickel, Far Niente and Bella Union other members in this classy family of wines include: EnRoute (Russian River Valley, Sonoma), Post & Beam and Dolce.

The current Bella Union releases include Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon. All wines are certified sustainable by California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA).

Thanks to Colangelo & Partners for organizing our tasting.


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