Bell Wine Cellars Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay 4-Pack
$79.99 $156.00 49% off List Price
2013 Bell Estate Chardonnay, Yountville, Napa Valley
CT link above
Right about now I’m wishing we’d tasted this on the Tour this summer! I’d love a compare/contrast to the Iron Horse Unoaked and Estate Chardonays.
Another slam-dunk auto-buy.
Paid $37/btl for this when we visited Bell during our trip to Cathy Corison’s 25 year vertical cab tasting.
Thank you Anthony and crew for coming back to woot!
It’s not clone-6, but is sure is tasty. Richer than the IH unoaked.
This is pretty much a 2x slam-dunk for me as well. Anthony Bell is making very European style wines and doing quite a fine job. He also gives very good and detailed notes on the wine and its production.
Although in the past 20 years or so the fashion in California Chardonnay has moved to wines from the cooler regions such as Carneros, shading into the Petaluma Gap, ‘Sonoma Coast’ and the Russian River Valley, historically some of the best Chardonnays have come from further up the Napa Valley, including the Yountville region half-way between Napa and St. Helena, and places like Chateau Montelena. This is not the much warmer area around Oakville or Rutherford. With the right ‘hand’ very fine wines can be made in the mid-valley.
For how many years would this remain tasty? How would it develop?
This looks good–I’m interested in how the ~1/3 wine undergoing malo effects the lack of butteriness/oakiness in the wine.
Any comparison to other offers from woot or woot favorite wineries–e.g., Clark Smith’s faux Chablis (which SWMBO and I LOVED); Iron Horse’s estate chards; etc.?
To build upon this. When I joined BV in 1989 one of the first assignments I had was to write the petition for the Carneros AVA. At that time there were very few vineyards in Carneros and BV was one of the few wineries heavily promoting the Chardonnay and Pinot noir from BV#5 in Carneros. There was a lot of Chardonnay and Pinot noir grown in the Yountville area and, given the relative coolness, this was the favored area for the varietals.
One of the things I like about Yountville versus Carneros is that, in my opinion, the morning fog tends to burn off sooner and the wind impact is less. This tends to give the fruit a bit more richness in the grapes and I feel allows us to make the “tank fermented” style without needing the heavy addition of barrel fermented wine to build structure. The wine on offer is made entirely from Yountville estate grown fruit and is a blend of two Dijon Clones and the old California Wente Clone.
One of the things I find in these tank fermented style Chardonnay’s is that, with age, the fruit and acid “envelop” each other and create a deliciously ripe mouthfeel. If you have had a chance to taste some of the Napa Chardonnays from the 1970’s, many of which had very little oak, these wines matured beautifully. I think part of this is due to the higher amount of unconverted malic acid in the wine. Being brighter and less creamy than the lactic acid, I think allows the wine to remain brighter. I think the wine would taste lovely in 3 to 5 years.
I cannot offer a comparison. However, I will say that our wine does have an oak presence on both the nose and palate, but the oak, if not a background note, is on par with the fruit and varietal. The butteriness is very low as we do not stir the lees excessively during the post malo-lactic barrel aging period. This I feel gives us a creaminess on the palate, and helps to soften and round out the granular acidity of the tank fermented portion. It is definitely a transition between the classic buttery/oaky California style and the lean, tank fermented style. I would like to think that we have rounded out the palate without losing the fruit and bright acidity of the wine.
Thank you for your input & the history lesson. I always enjoy learning about the evolution of wines & wine making.
We like the Smith-Madrone & Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnays for their balanced fruity acidity.
Yours sounds lovely with maybe a bit more body.
In for one.
Again, more recently imported French clones have been fashionable for many years now, but Anthony is spot on using a good bit of the Wente clone. IIRC Anthony’s reference to ‘old’ Wente clone means he’s got the original Wente clone vines, not the ‘certified’ or ‘heat-treated’ version propagated from Davis.
Wente clone has made some truly remarkable Chardonnays, include one of my life-long favorites, the first California Chardonnay I ever tasted, a 1962 Wente, and the legendary 1959.
My daughter is a big fan of Smith Madrone, and I have been a fan of Stony Hill since the '60s when I first tasted the wines and met Fred and Eleanor. Stony Hill was long regarded as perhaps the best Chardonnay in America.
Stony Hill indeed makes great wines and just yesterday we were talking about who makes Chardonnay that could be considered as a benchmark and that was one of the first brands to be mentioned.
Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy the wine.
I’ll take one off you if you don’t want them all.
I’ll split with somebody?
Done. I’ll PM you when it arrives.