From: Red Mountain, Washington, USA
Varietals: 83% Cabernet Franc, 17% Merlot
bel canto, n. a. A style of singing characterized by beauty of tone rather than dramatic power [Italian, literally: beautiful singing], b. Cadence blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot grown on its estate, Cara Mia Vineyard.
Tasting Notes: "Minerality, plums and blueberries. Strikingly seamless already at this young age, and, like Camerata, just builds effortlessly from the deep berry front to glorious tannins that linger on a long finish. Power and complexity, grace and balance, an epic vintage for Bel Canto." –Ben Smith, Winemaker
Critical Acclaim: "The 2019 Bel Canto is more Cabernet Franc-dominated and includes 17% Merlot. While it doesn't match the 2018, it's a beauty offering impressive redcurrant and spiced plum fruits, notes of spicy oak, dried flowers, and leafy herbs, medium to full body, a pure, seamless, gorgeous texture, and ultra-fine tannins. It's just a stunning Cabernet Franc from Washington State that offers incredible pleasure today given its balance and texture yet will evolve for 20+ years." –Jeb Dunnuck, 96 points
"Ben Smith’s cabernet franc–dominant blend has whiffs of five spice and black cherry, sassafras and cedar. It’s forward and generous in the middle, even as it’s limned with herbal touches. Smith has an affinity for franc, as this wine has an affinity for lamb." –Wine & Spirits, 94 points
"The 2019 Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard opens slowly in the glass, rosy yet savory, with notes of dried black cherry lifted by hints of menthol and pine. This steps softly, yet leaves a big impact, as nuances of strawberry and sage flow across a core of brilliant acidity, and pretty inner florals amass toward the close. Raspberry and red plum combine with nuances of dark chocolate, as the 2019 finishes remarkably fresh yet potent, with fine tannins that come on late, but frame the style perfectly. The Bel Canto is primarily Cabernet Franc with a 17% dollop of Merlot that refines for 23 months in 50% new French oak." –Vinous, 93 points
About. Started in 1998 by husband and wife team Gaye McNutt and Benjamin Smith, Cadence is a shop-favorite Washington winery dedicated to showcasing some of the finest vineyard sites in the state. Their Bordeaux-styled blends interpret the best qualities reflected in Washington's greatest vineyard terroir. Cadence's winemaking philosophy is based on the belief that blending creates a balanced wine of greater character than the individual components. Their wines express the vineyard's power, intensity, or elegance, as reflected in the characteristics of the varietals on the vineyard site.
Cadence's estate vineyard on Red Mountain, Cara Mia, was established in 2004. It has cobbles, clay, and basalt soils.
“A great showing and all the more remarkable considering that Cara Mia Vineyard was only planted in 2004. There are any number of powerhouse Bordeaux blends being made in Washington today, but very few wines with this degree of class.” –S. Tanzer
Red Mountain is a small American Viticultural Area in the US state of Washington, located entirely within the Yakima Valley AVA, itself part of the larger Columbia Valley wine region. Red Mountain AVA covers just 4,040 acres (1,635ha), but produces some of Washington State's most prestigious wines, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
Red Mountain is the easternmost AVA in Yakima Valley, occupying the land within a curve of the Yakima River just before it joins the Columbia River near the town of Richland. The mountain (on which grows cheatgrass that turns red in spring, hence its name) is more like a slope. It rises to 1,410 feet (430m) above sea level in the northeast corner of the AVA whilst vineyards are found on favorable aspects facing southwest above the river.
This placement of the vineyards creates a high exposure to sunlight throughout the growing season – almost two hours a day more than Napa Valley. This sunshine is followed by nights cooled by air from the north sinking into the Yakima River valley. This contributes to the balance of the grapes, with the diurnal temperature variation slowing ripening and allowing for the retention of acidity during the development of flavor. The Yakima River also helps moderate the temperatures during the growing season.
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