Barrel Tasting Roundup: Bella Vineyards

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Barrel Tasting Roundup
1st Stop: Bella Vineyards

Had a great time this past weekend at the Barrel Tasting Event in Sonoma. This year, I decided to focus on the Dry Creek area, most notably known for their full-bodied Zinfandels. As a matter of fact, I don’t think my teeth have ever been so purple!

Our first stop was Bella Vineyards. I have to say that they really know how to throw a party. The live bluegrass music went hand in hand with the staff’s authentic cowboy hats and a lot of attendees joined in on the fun with their own cowboy hats as well. The tour began with a barrel tasting that was very reminiscent of Beaujolais (young, fruity and somewhat tart). This was my first barrel tasting of the day, so it was difficult to compare or see where the future was going, but based on their finished bottles, I know it will be great.

The next stop for me was what I thought was another tasting. Being one of the longest and slowest moving lines, I figured this stuff had to be good and would definitely be worth the wait. Unfortunately, I was way off – it was the line for the bathroom – woops! That wasn’t where I wanted to be and so I had to get out of there quick!!

The next (real) stop was through the caves. This was right after grabbing a bite of their pulled pork sandwiches, which paired wonderfully with the finished Zins. They have beautiful caves that are cool and dark and well decorated with candles and such. The bluegrass band sang a song about Zinfandel that sounded great in the cave acoustics. We tried the following wines on our tour through the cave:

Belle Canyon Zinfandel – younger vines (planted in the 90’s), very smooth and popular with the crowd.
Big River Ranch Zinfandel – 94 year old vines which makes for a VERY BOLD and full-bodied Zin.
Late Picked Zinfandel – A dessert wine that was picked late from the vine. Extra sweet and literally smelled like jam straight out of the jar. I think I could have spread it on bread with butter for some breakfast bliss.

**My favorite? I actually loved the Belle Canyon Zin. It was smooth with a great flavorful finish. This is a small lot production wine with a cult following and could already be sold out. If interested, I suggest calling them directly, since they don’t have this available in their online wine shop at this time.

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