(Taken from a white paper on Bell’s website)
Our Napa Valley Cabernet sauvignon is a blend created in the historic “ claret” style from select vineyards and appellations within the renowned Napa Valley. The word claret was first used in popular English literature sometime before 1350, and appeared in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Claret refers to Bordeaux wines produced for the English market that have been “Hermitaged” – wines from Galicia or Hermitage have been added – to improve the fruit and color.
Drawing on his experience with Cabernet sauvignon and his time in Bordeaux, Anthony has created a wine that respects this historic blended wine style, utilizing fruit from the unique appellations of Napa Valley. Our 2013 vintage is a blend of Cabernet sauvignon (82%), Merlot (6%), Petit verdot (6%), Cabernet franc (3%), Malbec (3%). The wine was aged in a combination of French (89%) and American (11%) oak barrels, of which 18% were new barrels, for 20 months. The wine was not fined and received a gentle filtration prior to bottling.
Our 2013 promises to be a glorious vintage for Napa. With a warm, dry spring, bud break occurred early, a couple weeks ahead of the norm. Spring was frost-free through flowering and the crop set with ideal conditions. Throughout the entire growing season, the valley saw moderate to warm temperatures with only one minor heat spike the end of June and beginning of July. An early harvest started in late July and accelerated in August. September saw the arrival of two light, mid-month rains, but the following breezy, sunny weather quickly dried fruit allowing the late ripening Cabernet to hang without damage. Crop size was above-average. The dry spring delivered small berries, which combined with the long, even summer temperatures has produced wines of exceptionally deep color, intense flavor and energetic acidity and freshness.
Our 2013 Cabernet sauvignon derives its complexity from the blending of five grape varietals. In the glass, the wine shows its deep ruby color while aromas of red fruits and polished oak promise a voluptuous character. On the palate, the red fruits transition to elegant, mouth-filling dark fruits, paired with fine, yet lively, tannins. The fruit-driven finish is smooth and very persistent, a nicely integrated example of classic Bell Cabernet, self-contained and beautifully framed by refined oak. This supple wine is a luscious re flection of the summer’s moderate growing conditions and pairs well with a variety of foods, particularly roasted vegetables, grilled meats and pizza.