2009 Bella Riva Sangiovese/Merlot

Bella Riva is Italian for "beautiful riverbank" according to the winery website and seeing
Posted 09th September 2011        

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Bella Riva is Italian for “beautiful riverbank” according to the winery website and seeing as the vines are situated overlooking the King River in the King Valley of the state of Victoria in Australia. Bella Riva is part of one of the big players in Australian wine, the De Bortoli winery.

De Bortoli makes a wide range of wines and the Bella Riva range is meant to showcase their Italian heritage at everyday prices. It’s still family run and the aim of the Bella Riva Sangiovese/Merlot blend was to pay a bit of homage to the family’s Italian roots. The Bella Riva 2009 is a field blend which means that the vines were planted in the same field, harvested at the same time and vinified at the same time.

The red is an everyday wine, no pretentions, maybe a bit rustic in character but Sangiovese has historically been an everyday wine in Italy; it’s more commonly known as the main (sometimes only) grape used to make Chianti – as well as everyday drinking wines in Italy. Merlot, although not as well known, has been grown in Italy – though not as widely as it’s bottle-mate.

I first tried the red at a virtual tasting: read, I tasted this online with a bunch of other wine bloggers and we posted our notes while we were drinking it. I have to admit that at first I was a bit underwhelmed by the wine but after about half an hour it really opened up. A savoury wine on the palate but with plenty of red and black fruit aromas jumping out of the glass and into my nose. Savoury, smoky, earthy on the palate with faint fruit notes, this is really a wine meant to go with food. I had it with a simple tomato and pancetta sauce over linguine – perfect!

The Bella Riva is available in the UK, suggested retail price £9.99. I’d certainly recommend opening it about half an hour before hand, pouring a glass and letting it sit before drinking with dinner, it really does open up so well.


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Meet the Author:
Denise Medrano
I'm an American ex-pat who is fascinated by wine. Previous to my arrival in London, I had done a sommelier course in Buenos Aires, Argentina so I knew I wanted to be in the wine trade but where to start? I started where so many people in the UK wine trade start, Oddbins. I was fortunate in that Oddbins back then had a great wine education partnership with the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust and I was able take the WSET courses. I currently have the WSET Advanced Certificate as well as holding a UK personal alcohol license. Another advantage to working at Oddbins was that I had access to all the wine trade shows. Imagine, being able to go and try as many wines as you could in one day! Whew! I have to admit, I didn't do much spitting back then and the next day, I was wishing I had at least taken better notes. I started looking around on the web for blogs that covered the London wine scene and found there were none. Well, none that appealed to me. None that were a mix of trade and consumer views and opinions. And none that really talked about what a great centre of wine this fabulous city of London is. So I rolled up my sleeves, bought a domain name and the rest, as they say, is The Winesleuth history. The Winesleuth Website - Follow The Winesleuth on Twitter