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Ballentine Napa Syrah 1997

Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
    • WE91
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    Winemaker Notes

    Our 1997 Syrah is 100% Syrah from a 35 year old vineyard, St. George clone. This old vineyard produced a moderate crop which ripened perfectly in early September.

    The wine has a deeply pigmented vinous-black color, a hint of violets and an intense impression of ripeness. The rich berry character turns slightly exotic from the oaks contribution of mocha and caramel. Very long, broad and richly testured, this wine leaves a memorable tactile impression. It continues on the palate with strong varietal character, a lingering vanilla flavor and toasty finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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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.

    Syrah/Shiraz

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    Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

    Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

    In the Glass

    Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

    Perfect Pairings

    Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

    Sommelier Secret

    Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

    WWH32L3202_1997 Item# 16438