Far Niente literally means ‘without a care’ and guests immediately feel that ambiance when visiting the Oakville estate because of its spell-binding beauty and effortless yet elegant hospitality. This wonderful connection with consumers is just one reason the partners of Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel created Bella Union Winery – to offer a category of wine to consumers that is uniquely different from its sister wineries but made with the same attention to detail that drives all its winemaking and hospitality.
In contrast to Far Niente’s all-estate Oakville Cabernet and Nickel & Nickel’s personality-driven single-vineyard Cabernet, the new Bella Union ($85) is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet blend anchored in Bella Union fruit. The vines grow on the well-draining alluvial fans of western Rutherford.
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to taste the inaugural 2012 Cabernet which will be released in September, the 2013 and barrel samples from the 2014 vintage. Both 2012 and 2013 vintages contain about 60% of Bella Union fruit and I could taste the personality of Rutherford coming through in these delicious wines: Intense cassis and black cherry fruit with hints of dried herbs and cedarwood, and a subtle earthiness tinged with cocoa that reminds me of Rutherford.
The name Bella Union is an authentic yet serendipitous one being the original 19th century name of Bella Oaks Lane which borders the vineyard. Today, the name Bella Union not only symbolizes a beautiful blend of Napa Valley Cabernet, it also alludes to a more complete collection of wines that the vintners have been thoughtfully building for over 30 years including Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, the sweet Dolce and EnRoute Russian River Pinot Noir.
Bella Union is not open to the public but guests can experience the passion at Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel is open daily for tours and tastings by appointment only. The inaugural 2012 vintage of Bella Union will be available in September.