Ballentine BG Red Reserve 1999
Color and Aroma: Dark pigmented and garnet-purple hue, with aromas of black cherries mint, blackberry jam, vanilla, caramel, and pepper with undercurrents of eucalyptus and anise. Flavors - Black cherries and berries, a toasty vanilla and caramel surrounded by currants and bramble berries defines the palate. A lingering finish of oak spiciness and intense cherries.
Mouthfeel: Very rich in nature with firm tannins and a velvety texture. The wine tannins are complimented by the supple nature of the oak allowing for an engaging mouthfeel.
"This is a 50-50 mixture of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and so you won't find any of those big Cabernet Sauvignon flavors and tannins. The wine has soft, melted tannins, and the black cherry and tobacco flavors have a rich earthiness to them. It will probably age well, but try it now with leg of lamb."
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.