Ballentine Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2018

Napa Valley
$55 (Wine Club Reorder $45)

Ballentine, family owned since 1906, represents four generations of history. As a winery with deep roots in Napa, they are a farm-to-bottle winery. Ballentine grows all of their grapes to make limited, truly exclusive Napa Valley wines. Their specialties are Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon but they make a diverse range of wines, from refreshing bright white wine (we love their Chenin Blanc!) to big, bold red wines. They consistently strive to make the best quality wine every year for customers who love approachable and delicious wine.

Before Van and Betty Ballentine married, they were childhood friends. Both were born into Napa Valley winery and farming families. They knew the hard work and dedication it took to run a winery. In 1953, long-time friends Van and Betty married, moved into their St. Helena farmhouse, and farmed their family’s vineyards. Using Betty’s accounting experience from work for Charles Krug as Robert Mondavi’s accountant, and Van’s vast knowledge of the vineyards, they decided to revive the family winery and Ballentine Vineyards was reborn.

In 1999, Van and Betty hired young winemaker Bruce Devlin. Bruce Devlin started out wanting to be a brewmaster but after a brief foray in forestry and an even shorter stint in photography, he ultimately got a degree in Fermentation Science at UC Davis. Global wine-making expeditions honed Bruce’s skills in areas well-known for delightful flavors, such as Germany, South Africa, and Australia. Each destination helped him craft his unique style, found in numerous high-scoring wines he’s produced over the past 20 years.

Winning the Silver Medal in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and scoring 93 points, the Pocai Vineyard 2018 Reserve Zinfandel is rich and full-bodied. This new release of the Reserve Zinfandel brings excellence to the Zinfandel grape with complexity and balance. It is a big Zinfandel with bright red fruit and a plush mid-palate which makes the perfect segway to a lengthy finish. Flavors of raspberry, cherry, and anise compliment vanilla and cracked pepper.

I had a rich dark chocolate flourless cake last night with dinner that would pair well with this wine. The richness of the chocolate paired with the bright red fruit in this wine leads to a silky smooth texture on the palate.

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – July 2021

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