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Balverne Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • W&S91
14.2% ABV
  • JS92
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The nose exhibits bright red fruit character, with good acidity and hints of spice and oak notes. Flavors of plum and other red fruits predominate, with an elegant frame of vanilla and toast. The wine shows a sophisticated, smooth texture, good complexity and lengthy finish with great balance.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
Russian River’s warmth delivers deliciously ripe fruit without overt alcohol in this vibrant 2012. It’s succulent and sweet at first, finding its balance in firm tannins that open up into spicy complexity with air, drawing the wine into the realm of wet stones and fresh herbs as much as red fruit. Decant it to release its youthful charm.
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Balverne

Balverne

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Balverne , Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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In 1992 the property was purchased by its current owner Bob Stein, who renamed the property Windsor Oaks Vineyards. The property was successfully managed as a vineyard, selling fruit to over 35 highly regarded wineries throughout the state. Winemaking resumed on the property in 2005 under the Windsor Oaks name and in 2012, Bob and his wife Renee made the decision to honor the legacy of their beloved property by re-introducing the Balverne name.

Their wines are produced by Margaret Davenport, who is well known for her many years at Clos du Bois winery. The inaugural Pinot Noir, vintage 2010, was produced by the original winemaker for Windsor Oaks, Julie Lumgair. They are also very fortunate to have Balverne’s first winemaker, Doug Nalle, consulting on the wines, bringing his years of experience back to the property where he began his career.

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 Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

WWH133209_2012 Item# 134035