Blueberries and cherries mingle with savory herbs and minerals on a gloriously rich nose. The first taste confirms these flavors and ushers in waves of concentrated complexity and interplay between acid, fruit and firm tannins. Utterly poised and graceful yet packing an enormous presence. If Bel Canto were an athlete it would be a gymnast or ice skater, supremely strong but entirely graceful.
Blend: 73% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot
The 2018 Bel Canto is a Cabernet Franc-dominated blend that includes 17% Merlot. As with the Camerata, it spent 23 months in 50% new oak. Gorgeous notes of cassis and ripe black cherry fruits as well as leafy herbs, forest floor, iron, tobacco, and spice all soar from the glass, and this head-turning beauty is full-bodied, with a seamless texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish. It's one of the finest wines I've ever tasted from Ben Smith and should be snatched up by readers! It's going to keep for 15+ years or more. Wow.
-Jeb Dunnuck, 97 pts.
For decades, winemaker Ben Smith has had a love affair with Cabernet Franc from Red Mountain. This wine, where the variety comprises 73% with the rest Merlot, shows why. The aromas are a complete delight, with notes of raspberry, moist earth, flowers and berries. The flavors are layered and pure, showing great texture. It's showy, but with no shortage of structure.
- Wine Enthusiast, 92 pts.