Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some Wine at Bella Bella

I was fortunate enough to find time to stop into Bella Bella (BB) tonight. They've been open for 10 years and my last visit was probably close to 5 years ago. BB has improved in leaps and bounds since my last visit. While recent notable local Italian restaurants (Anthonys and Nino's) have closed, BB expanded by moving into the business next door, more than doubling their original size; they've redecorated creating an all new informal, unpretentious atmosphere; and they've added a good sized bar (pictured above) serving 53 wines by the bottle, 42 of which are available by the glass.

Note: for the rest of the summer Bella Bella has happy hour from 3-7 with 1/2 off any glass of wine and any draft beer!

I tried two wines:

N.V. Shooting Star (Jed Steele) Shiraz Black Bubbles (CA, North Coast, Lake County, Syrah) $7.50 per glass/$3.75 happy hour - Not much nose, but some blackberry syrup. Amazingly, almost no sweetness, light body and dry black tea finish. On the downside no real complexity. But enjoyable. Rating: 85.

2006 Aldo e Riccardo Seghesio Barbera D'Alba (Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera D'Alba) $7 per glass/$3.50 happy hour - black fruit on the nose and the attack, medium-big mouthfeel, moderate-soft tannins, dry finish; balanced. Rating: 87.

Although these wines didn't have much complexity, they were enjoyable and would likely improve when paired with the right food. If you go, some good, uncommon value wines on the Bella Bella list are below. All wines are best when paired with the right food.
1. Bex Riesling (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer) $8 glass/$34 bottle
2. Schloss Vollrads Riesling Auslese (Germany, Rheingau) $9 glass/$38 bottle
3. Kim Crawford Sauvingnon Blanc (New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough) - I know, I know this isn't uncommon, but its enjoyable. $9 glass/$38 bottle
4. 2001 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) $12 glass/$48 bottle - Best Italin wine
5. Cesari Valpolicella Superiore Mara Vino di Ripasso (Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiorie) $7 glass/$29 bottle

UPDATE: went to dinner with friends on Saturday and tried the special shrimp ravioli in creamy pesto--rich...and good. Eveyone else was happy with their entrees. We order a bottle of the Cesari (#5, above). It evolved over time and showed hints of carmel/vanilla--a good food friendly wine. We'll be back.

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