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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Ballentine BG Reserve Zinfandel 1999

Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
  • RP90
  • WE90
0% ABV
  • WE92
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Winemaker Notes

Bg Zinfandel Reserve is a single block vineyard zinfandel that captures a racy personality, outstanding ripeness and superb purity. As a reserve wine, it was designed from a superior single block, "Block 9", which our family has farmed since 1906. The soil transformed the 35 year old vines into a wine that is the essence of Northern Napa Valley Zinfandel greatness.

The inspiration for this label was a soil survey map from 1933 depicting the various soil types throughout the Napa Valley. Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the University of California, each soil type was mapped and given a two letter legend. Our vineyards are planted in a soil referred to as Bale gravelly-loam hence the acronym Bg - the name we chose to designate these limited production reserve wines. Named after the pioneering Bale family, this soil type is characterized by low fertility, and its loose well drained structure. This soil limits the vines yield, producing fruit with excellent concentration and structure. It is considered one of the finest in the Napa Valley for growing high quality wine grapes. Moreover, it has rather limited distribution, occuring primarily on the alluvial fans at the base of ridges that delineate our valley.

"The dark purple-colored, impressively fruity 1999 Zinfandel (map label) exhibits Rhone-like characteristics of earth, Provencal herbs, pepper, spice box, licorice, plum, currants, and cherries, a sweet, full-bodied, fruit-driven personality, outstanding ripeness, and superb purity. Drink it over the next 5-6 years."
-Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
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Ballentine

Ballentine Winery

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Ballentine Winery, Napa Valley, California
Ballentine Vineyards owns 110 acres of vines spread among the Crystal Springs Vineyard at the base of Howell Mountain; Pocai Ranch between the Napa River and the Silverado Trail and the Home Vineyard at the winery. After selling their grapes for many years to wineries; Cabernet Sauvignon to Caymus, Cabernet Franc to Rombauer, Zinfandel to Rosenblum, Ravenswood and Mondavi, Betty and Van decided to revive the Ballentine brand that Van and his dad worked at for many years at Deer Park. They started by having their grapes custom crushed for a small production in 1992. In 1995, they built a winery, behind their 100-year-old farmhouse. They revived the original bonded winery number 3595 issued to his father, John Ballentine in 1933 after prohibition ended. Ballentine Vineyards produces only red wines, which are perfectly suited to the Northern Napa Valley climate and vineyards. Our production is less than 10,000 cases of Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Bordeaux styled blend and with a future release of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. And it fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa County, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.

Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimen of the vine and acted as the source of its importation to New England by George Gibbs, probably in 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly expresses powerful notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often expresses red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics of juniper and menthol.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.

PBC2480846_1999 Item# 60117