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Balletto Winery Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • TP92
13.8% ABV
  • TP90
  • TP91
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13.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This light-straw colored wine is both complex and elegant, showing its cool-climate heritage with concentrated flavors and bright citrus acidity. It opens with warm spices, tangerine and lemon aromas and fresh fruit. The various aromas overlap and mingle, producing an ever-changing bouquet that is the hallmark of our Chardonnay. Oak has been used sparingly to enhance the wine with subtle toasted and vanilla aromas, rather than dominate the aroma profile. The texture and balance are spot on, making it one of those wines that draws you in for another sip. The finish lasts for several minutes and is both tart and creamy with lingering lemon and creme brulee flavors.

Because of its tartness and texture, it will pair well with salty foods like aged cheeses, roasted sardines and oysters. It can also be paired with foods based on its creamy side and compliment rich soups like butternut squash and potato leek, or a wide variety of roasted white meats and vegetables.

Critical Acclaim

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TP 92
Tasting Panel
Exquisite fresh fruit backed by tangy acidity, rich vanilla and new oak; delightfully long finish.
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Balletto Winery

Balletto Winery

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Balletto Winery, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
2012 Chardonnay
John Balletto began farming in 1977 at the tender age of 17. He had just graduated from high school and due to the untimely death of his father, gave up what looked like a promising college football and track career. With $200 in the bank and five acres in Sebastopol, California, John began farming produce with help from his mother, Hazel.

The Balletto Family has over 600 acres in the Russian River Valley and select 10% from many different clones and soil types to make their wine. They feel fortunate to sell the remaining 90% of their grapes to other wineries. In July 2010, the Balletto Family was honored being awarded the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, The Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river which flows through the region. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, further from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

CWL33000512_2012 Item# 129835