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Balverne Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • JS92
14.8% ABV
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14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aromatics reminiscent of strawberry, cherry, cola and black tea rise from a glass of this beautiful Pinot Noir. Subtle notes of leather and nutmeg follow. On the palate balanced acidity carries flavors of cherry and strawberry fruit enveloped in toasty French oak. A rich, long finish of spicy dark fruits and sweet oak make this wine a perfect pairing for BBQ’d salmon, grilled duck and roast pork.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 92
James Suckling
Bright red berries, in the raspberry zone, that carry a deeply ripe, fresh and lively feel on the palate. Brisk and upbeat finish. Drink or hold.
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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.

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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.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

PHXBAEPNR15750_2015 Item# 506256