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Ballentine Napa Zinfandel 1997

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

    The 1997 Zinfandel possesses a very deep garnet color, with aromas of raspberry jam, blackberry pie, pepper and dark chocolate-mocha. The texture has balanced acidity, a broad mouthfeel, with supple tannin and a clean, yet lingering finish. Alcohol is 14.7% by volume.

    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 and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Zinfandel

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    Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

    In the Glass

    Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

    Perfect Pairings

    Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

    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 vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

    RVWBA66945_1997 Item# 16436