Ballard Lane Zinfandel 2014
Blackberry briar and smoked meats dominate the nose and are supported on the palate by plump, ripe fruits, cassis and cigar. e wine is subtle and spicy and is balanced by bright acidity with lengthy tannins. Medium-to-full bodied this is a wine that epitomizes California Zinfandel. Drink now or it will develop over the next few years.
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.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven Central Coast wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel has secured it’s title as the darling of California vintners by adapting well to the states’ diverse microclimates and landscapes. Born in Croatia, it later made its way to southern Italy where it was named Primitivo. Fortunately, the imperial nursery of Vienna catalogued specimens of the vine, which sourced a journey to New England in 1829. Parading the true American spirit, Zinfandel found a new home in California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Somm Secret—California's ancient vines of Zinfandel are those that survived the neglect of Prohibition; today these vines produce the most concentrated, ethereal and complex examples.