has been producing wine since 1990. They have a good sized vineyard near BV Winery in Rutherford with ownership of other planted vineyard properties in Napa and nearby Pope Valley. Think Napa Valley is 100% planted to vineyards? Bettinelli’s Rutherford vineyard is surrounded by several acres of Olives and when we visited in early fall we found rows and rows of commercially harvested tomatoes growing nearby! Bettinelli was founded by two partners, each with a background in farming. A third partner later came on board and handles their marketing. One of the three partners has a fairly large vineyard management company within the Napa area. He manages vineyards for select high end wineries as well as Bettinellis.
Their vines are trained on a very interesting and unique trellising system. The main tall vine separates the two canes (the vine’s arms) into a V shape facing East/West which directs the foliage into a North South direction. There is an amazing amount of work that goes into running a healthy vineyard and their vineyards are very carefully managed. The tall vineyards allow harvesters to easily walk down the rows at chest height and pick the grapes. The grapes bunches are all lined up in rows at about the same level which really simplifies the picking. Contrast that to a head pruned vine which has grape clusters randomly hidden underneath the foliage where one has to bend down and search for the clusters.
Bettinelli typically picks the same varietal two separate times during harvest. The reason being is the west facing side receives more sun and warmth so the fruit tends to “come together” before the east facing side. If one picked both sides at the same time you might get some vegetal characteristics in the wine due to one side of the row not yet being “ready”. They produce about 3000 cases annually with distribution in very select national markets – including some restaurants in the Napa Valley. One thing that is unique with this winery is they are able to hold back their wines 4 to 5 years before releasing them, and yes, you can buy their older vintages still, which are 7 or 8 years old. Check with many Napa area wineries; the majority have already sold out of their older vintages or make these their “library” wines which are not always available to the public.
We tried a 2002 Napa sparkling Viognier which was just made one time. From our recollection out of more than 600 commercial Napa wine producers that we have visited and tasted with to date, this is the first wine of this type that we have tried. It is a wine that is extremely labor intensive to make and theirs exhibits a beautiful creamy fruit quality. Their are two general processes to choose from in order to make this wine. The process they used gives it more depth and structure rather than the other process which forms a more lean wine. We also tried their robust 1999 Napa Cabernet which amazingly has hardly lost any of its color over time and still has a strong tannic backbone, mostly on the mid palate; this wine ends with a very smooth finish. Several of their wines are sourced from Lake County fruit for their Barclay & Browning Winery based in Middletown (north of the Napa Valley). Visit: www.bettinelli.com
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially
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