Better known for Cabernet, Ballentine brings a deft hand to their Block 9 Zin, which has earned high scores for years. The vineyard is in Calistoga, and the warmth has coaxed out intricate flavors of wild red and black berries and cherries, mocha, herbs and spices, with a distinct black pepper note. The tannins are thick, but very fine. Among the top Napa Zins…
This wine shows all the class and elegance of a fine Napa Cab, except it’s indisputably Zin, with its brambly fruit flavors and spicy, peppery edge. The oak is rich and charred, the tannins sweet and ripe, the texture as smooth as velvet. Pretty much the best that Napa can do with Zinfandel.
Here’s a Zin with the potential to develop into something very special. It should have been held back a year longer, to let the elements meld. Deliciously ripe raspberry-cherry fruit, lush, complex tannins, a subtle overlay of oak and fine acidity need until 2006 to knit, and when they do, look out.
The vines date to the early 1970s, and the vineyard is on the valley floor near Calistoga. Winemaker Bruce Devlin worked at Boschendal, South Africa’s first winery to barrel ferment Chenin Blanc. Dry and crisp, this wine shows wildflower and citrus flavors, and a sweet, green-pea note with an edge of toasted wood. Not only is this an elegant table white, it should…
Impressive by any standards, this Cab is doubly so for having such great balance from a hot-hot vintage. The acids and tannins are firm, but best of all are the flavors, rich in ripe blackberry, cassis, spicy plum pudding and sweet new oak. Just a beautiful wine right now, and should evolve interestingly for 10 years.
Ballentine has a fantastic, if little known, track record for Zinfandel, and they’ve actually been lowering their price lately, making this a great buy. It shows classic Napa structure, with Zin’s briary, brambly berry character and a spicy finish. The grapes come from the winery’s Pocai vineyard, and while alcohol is high, the wine feels balanced. Drink now.
The Pocai Vineyard is a very interesting one, growing Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and the wines are always worth looking into. This Cabernet Franc, at four years of age, is mellowing, with the tannins turning gentle and the flavors becoming delicious and dramatic. Particularly bright in red cherries, it’s a beautiful wine…
Very smooth and velvety texture. The tongue feels good as the dark stone fruit and peppery flavors spread over the palate like a soft blanket. The robust flavors are balanced by fine, dusty, dry tannins, further enhancing the mouthfeel. This is a very nice red wine of elegance and style.