Ballard Lane Pinot Noir 2017
The 2017 Ballard Lane Central Coast Pinot Noir has a dark crimson color and opens with aromas of strawberries, clove and baking spices. The palate is fleshy with peppered strawberries, maraschino cherries and toasted oak. This wine has earthy tones and hints of vanilla. This Pinot Noir pairs well with carnitas tacos and homemade burgers.
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Expressive notes of black cherry and black pepper arise alongside a hint of bramble and bergamot. On the palate, generous favors of wild berries complement a silky body and tinges of spice that touch the middle of the tongue. Meaty au jus further seasons these earthy red berries, imparting an umami character. Aged for four months in French oak, this wine represents the kind of beauty the Central Coast can offer—we did a double take at the price.
A former Wells Fargo stagecoach stop, the town of Ballard was founded in 1880 with lofty dreams of being a future metropolis. Ballard was named for William Ballard, who ran the Wells Fargo station from 1862 to 1870. Although Ballard served as the connection point between rural and seaside communities, it never grew in mass like it's neighbor Santa Barbara, and is now much as it was over 100 years ago.
Today, Ballard is a combination of sleepy village and upscale bedroom community. The surrounding area is noted for its thriving and well-respected wine industry and was featured in the Academy Award nominated film "Sideways." Vineyards, coastal bluffs and ranches merge seamlessly together through roads the locals call "lanes." Ultimately, many of these paths end up in Ballard.
The Ballard Lane wines are a reflection of the Miller Family, a Central Coast family who has farmed the area for five generations. Their proprietary knowledge of the climate and terroirs of the Central Coast are reflected in each bottle of Ballard Lane wine.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.
Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.