Earlier this week I pushed aside the cover on the glass recycle bin to drop off my weekend empties. On the very top of the stack within lay a clean bottle with an eye-catching label bearing the words Bella Vetta. It was of the 2007 vintage and, unfortunately, was empty as one would expect in a dumpster!
I had only seen this wine once and that was on a wine card posted at Ami’s Vineyards. I had been prowling around Howell Mountain to see just how many wineries were up there some 1,500 feet above the Napa River. Of course I couldn’t count them all or even come close to seeing all or even most of them. Bella Vetta translates as “Beautiful Peaks,” and indeed the hills and skylines along Howell Mountain’s upper heights are beautiful.
I couldn’t help picking up the bottle, one of those heavy, solid California Cabernet-style bottles. The back notes described it as having a silky finish to follow an intense aroma. As far as I could tell, it was 100% Cabernet. Not a blend. The wine’s website gives no indication of a blend. It appears to be 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.4% alcohol. It retails for around $20 at the winery but between $35 and $40 elsewhere.
Elsewhere seemed to be only California when searching for where it’s available. None of my regular retailers have even heard of it.
Now I wonder who dropped it off in the recycle bin and how he or she came by it. Maybe I should make more frequent trips to the bin to see who I might meet and find out what they’ve been drinking. I also have to say, it looked as if the bottle had been placed there, not dumped there. It was lying label up as if the depositor was reluctant to part with it. Now I wish I had pulled off Ponderosa Drive on Howell Mountain for a visit, because today it’s only a story of a wine not tasted.