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Balletto Winery Pinot Gris 2012

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    13.7% ABV
    • WE91
    • WE91
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    13.7% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    It's rare to find the complex aromas and nuanced textures that this coolclimate Pinot Gris shows. It's both fruity and savory; tart yet velvety. And the finish is long and intense. Intense. The wine begins with a magnificent burst of perfumes. The first of which are lush and heady dried flowers and ripe apples. These are followed by the wine's bright elements of pear and lemon. A refreshing dose of lime and that always-elusive minerality rounds out the bouquet and continues into the crisp, cleansing mouthfeel.While showing tartness in the mouth, the wine still maintains a rich texture and structural viscosity. A honeyed finish lingers for several minutes and is more reminiscent of a finely made red wine than a crisp summertime white.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Balletto Winery

    Balletto Winery

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    Balletto Winery, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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    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 that flows through it. 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, farther 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.

    Pinot Gris/Grigio

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    Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot gris wine. California produces both styles with success.

    In the Glass

    Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity but full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are aromatic (think rose and honey), richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to its Italian counterparts. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often much lighter, charming and fruit driven.

    Perfect Pairings

    The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot Gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.

    Sommelier Secret

    Given the color of its berries and aromatic and characterful potential if cared for as it is allowed to fully ripen, the Pinot grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.

    CWL33000312_2012 Item# 138115