The Ballentines started making wine in Napa Valley in 1906. Today, the estate is headed by fourth-generation Frank Ballentine, along with winemaker Bruce Devlin. Both gentlemen studied Oenology at UC Davis and Bruce had working experience in the Old World. He spent time in the vineyards of the Pfalz (Germany) at Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl, and other wineries in Germany, South Africa, and Australia. These experiences equipped Frank and Bruce to cultivate the family's 100+ year-old vineyards using the best of tradition and New World innovation.
The vineyards of Ballentine are located in the warmest region of Napa Valley and are particularly suited for cultivating rustic Zinfandel. Ballentine grows their forty plus year old Zinfandel vines on the rocky soil of their Pocai vineyard which has been continuously cultivated by the family for a century. When it is time to harvest, they hand pick the grapes, looking for the characteristic flavors of blueberry and raspberry in the juice. After some of the fruit is full berry fermented with carefully picked yeasts and gentle extraction, the wine is barrel aged for 17 months showcasing the purity of the fruit.
This is a classic rustic Zinfandel in the glass. With aromas of sarsaparilla, dried cranberries, raspberry jam, fresh roses, strawberry, and dark cocoa. Discernible hints of eucalyptus and holiday spices, savory notes and herbs follow. This is a medium bodied wine with expressive tannins that will pair with Thanksgiving turkey dinner, hard and rich cheeses, as well as roasted beet salad or roasted vegetables.