Anthony Bell is one of Napa’s true great viticulturalists and a student of wine in every sense. In 1975, one year after André Tchelistcheff delivered what some consider the greatest bottling ever of BV Georges de Latour Cabernet, he joined his hero-turned-mentor to learn everything he possibly could.
According to the famous wine writer Jancis Robinson, André Tchelistcheff is the “founding father of the modern California wine industry.” The biggest lesson he taught Bell was the ins and outs of Cabernet ‘Clones’ (a population of vines derived from a single vine, called a mother vine). Clonal selection is crucial to viral resistance and yield. The clone also can impart different characteristics to the grapes and wine, whether it’s fruit size, acidity, or tolerance to different temperatures. While most people think of Pinot Noir when they think of clones, Tchelistcheff was miles ahead of everyone else.
After 15 years learning under his mentor, Anthony Bell left BV and immediately hit the ground running. He had forged some amazing relationships, which gave him access to the best vineyard sites in Napa. He earned an education that was second to none.
He started Bell Cellars in 1990 and built it into one of the biggest Cabernet programs in the country, with a lineup full of incredible Napa Valley Cabs. In addition to pricier vineyard-specific selections and his creme de la creme ‘Clonal specific’ selections that only great wineries like BV and Quilceda Creek have, his Cabernets are some of the most beautiful and age-worthy anywhere in the world.
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Crafted from both mountain and valley floor grapes, the Duckhorn Napa Cabernet is dense, beautifully rich, and complex with lots of great primary fruit, but also some strong natural acidity and tannic structure that will set this baby up perfectly for the next 20-25 years of aging. This is the newly released 2021 vintage, a sensational one in Napa Valley. Snag a few bottles of something special while it’s in-house.
93 Points, Wine Enthusiast
The new release is here from outstanding winemaking team of Michel Rolland, Charles Thomas, Andy Erickson and David Jelenik. This one always represents one of the best quality-to-price ratios in all of Napa Cab and in the stellar 2021 vintage, this really stands out as one of the best the Valley has to offer. It’s a racy mix of Coombsville fruit from Atlas Peak that absolutely roars out of the bottle. Always one of Napa’s great bargains and a must have even as the price starts to sneak up here a little bit.
The 2021 Napa Valley East side Cuvee is an instant classic. From the first whiff to the moment it hits the lips, its clear that this is a fabulously concentrated, serious wine: black in color, and featuring aromas of cassis, cedar and chocolate-tinged purple fruit. The mouthfeel is plush and voluptuous with a firm, solid finish that speaks to its potential for considerable aging.