The 2017 Pinot Noir Bela's Selection is the Russian River Valley release in the lineup, and it spent 14 months in 50% new French oak, a fair amount more than the other Pinot Noirs here. It handles it nicely, though, and offers up lots of blackberry and mulberry fruits as well as medium-bodied richness, a bright line of acidity, ripe tannins, and classic Pinot Noir spice and dried flower-like aromas and flavors. It's a balanced, elegant Russian River Pinot Noir to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years.
Bela’s Selection Pinot Noir Reviews
In the same ballpark, the 2016 Pinot Noir Bela's comes from the Russian River and spent 12 months in 35% new French oak. More classic sweet red fruits, forest floor, leather, and spicy incense notes all emerge from this complex, medium-bodied effort that has tons of charm. It too should keep nicely for 7-8 years.
Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Bela's Selection features warm black cherry, licorice, pepper and herbs on the nose plus notions of red and black fruit preserves and earth. Medium-bodied and silky with concentrated spiced fruits, it has a pleasant herbal quality, grainy tannins and a long finish.
Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir Bela's Selection is scented of black raspberries, crushed black cherries and wild blueberries with touches of garrigue, baking spices and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied and plushly textured with plenty of freshness supporting the spicy flavors, it finishes with a peppery lift.
A blend from two vineyards in the Sebastopol Hills, this wine presents red fruit surrounded by black, mineral-inflected tannins. It feels bound up and austere, and while those tannins are unrelenting, even with a few days of air, they would stand up well to a grilled sirloin steak.
Juicy, fresh and lively, this is a light-bodied effort with a big presence on the palate in terms of rich mouthfeel and velvety tannin. Blueberry, cherry and a pronouncement of forest floor play well together to offer both savory and fruit-tinged sweet. —V.B.
Brian Maloney makes this pinot noir primarily from three vineyards in the cool Sebastopol Hills, sites defined by thin soils, steep slopes and windy weather. This feels like the quintessence of Russian River Valley fruit: a lush, satiny, perfectly formed red cherry flavor that goes on and on, presenting the region’s richness with admirable subtlety. A day of air only clarifies its refinement, bringing out a deliciously crunch, near-mineral freshness — think wild cherry skin. It may take on more complexity with four or five years of age but it’s hard to resist right now.