Balletto Vineyards

Owner(s) John Balletto
Web site www.ballettovineyards.com
 
Link to this site
Balletto Vineyards

John Balletto started farming in Sonoma County at the age of 17 in 1977 after the untimely death of his father. He grew the family's vegetable farming business into the largest in Northern California at its peak (70 different vegetables on over 700 acres). Seeing a bright future for wine grapes, John and his spouse Terri transitioned to grape growing in 1995, and started selling fruit to renowned Sonoma County winemakers. The first wine made under the Balleto label came in 2001.

Today the Balletto family has 650 acres in the Russian River Valley including 280 acres in western Sebastopol devoted to wine grapes. 60 acres are planted to multiple clones of Pinot Noir. The western edges of his property are shared with the Laguna de Santa Rosa wetland habitat and are preserved lands.

Balletto Vineyards is one of the few 100 percent estate-grown and bottled producers in the Russian River Valley. The top 10 percent of the fruit from Balletto's estate vineyards is reserved for the Balletto Vineyard's wines and the remainder is sold to highly regarded producers. Annual case production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay has gradually increased as vintner John Balletto has expanded his portfolio of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines from a cluster of sites in the Sebastopol Hills including Cider Ridge, Burnside Road and Sexton Hill.

Winemaker Anthony Beckman came into winemaking after working as a daily newspaper reporter. He started at Balletto Vineyards as an enologist in 2007 and was promoted to winemaker two years later. Indigenous yeast is used in small fermentation tanks and aging is cared out in small amounts of new French oak barrels to enhance, but not dominate the wines.

Balletto Vineyards is at 5700 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. The tasting room is open daily from 10:00-5:00. The phone is 707- 568-2455. The wines are sold on the website. The Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs are sensibly priced and consistent winners in local wine competitions. Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Syrah and Zinfandel are also offered.

In July 2010, Ballettos were awarded the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Family of the Year.

Reviewed Wines

2016 Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

4,800 cases, $18. Estate grown and bottled. The winery’s rosé was originally a saignée with residual sugar, but Anthony Beckman has taken the wine more seriously since 2009, now producing 50% of it whole cluster like a white wine, 50% saignée, and vinifying it in stainless steel in a completely dry style. One of the few Russian River Valley wineries making a significant quantity of Pinot Noir Rosé. · Aromas of strawberry, blood orange and herbs leads to a bright, clean, crisp and smoothly textured wine, offering delightful flavors of red berries, peach and pink grapefruit. Score: 92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Burnside Road Emerson Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 140 cases. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is very charming, featuring aromas of black cherry, spice, tobacco smoke, dark chocolate and floral goodness. Mid weight plus in style, offering a haunting core of black cherry fruit with a minerality that is quite apparent. Firm tannins make for a slightly brutish wine, but in a good way. Score: 93. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Burnside Road Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.59, 580 cases. Indigenous yeast fermentation in six-ton open top fermenters, aged in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Deep aromas of cherry and allspice. Quite charming in the mouth, with a mid weight, juicy core of earth-kissed black cherry fruit. Polished, with firm tannins and some finishing length. Quite typical of the Sebastopol Hills. Score: 92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Vineyards Winery Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

First produced in 2007, this wine is sourced from a special block adjacent the winery that stands out. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Exuberant aromas of dark strawberry, cherry and mocha are inviting. A lovely wine in the mouth, with noticeable dark berry fruits that impress on entry, mid palate and finish. Fine-grain fruit tannins provide support and juicy acidity stokes the bright and persistent finish. Score: 92-93. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Winery Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.60, 575 cases. Indigenous yeast fermentation and aged in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of dark red and purple fruits, spice and earthy flora segue into a mid weight plus styled wine with vivid flavors of purple berries. Very seductive velveteen mouthfeel, perfectly ripened fruit, and an intensely fruited finish with a good cut of acidity. Score: 93. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Teresa’s Unoaked Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.7% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.70, 2,910 cases, $20. Robert Young clone. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. An excellent example of this Chardonnay genre exhibiting aromas of ripe green apple, guava and pineapple, with flavors of Meyer lemon, apricot, apple and pear. Slightly creamy, with bright acidity, and a tight, soprano finish. Score: 91. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2015 Balletto Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.7% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.67, 1,400 cases, $28. Barrel fermented and aged, native yeast fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation. Lees stirring every three weeks for first six months. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. A flamboyant wine with bright flavors of lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle and almond croissant. Very generous flavors of citrus, white peach, and pear, with well-integrated acidity. This one really aims to please and is a terrific value. Score: 92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 3,200 cases, pH 3.63, TA 0.59, $29. The winery’s flagship wine and a consistent Gold Medal winner. In 2015, some vineyards contributing to this wine yielded less than 1 ton per acre. Aged in French oak barrels, 32% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of Bing cherry, rhubarb and spice. Cherry flavor driven, this mid weight wine is easy going with modest tannins, a compliment of oak in the background and noticeable black cherry goodness on the finish. Score: 89-90. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Cider Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.58, 590 cases, $42. Double Gold Medal at 2016 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Vineyard is located 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Sebastopol Hills. Vines are planted primarily to heritage selections of Pinot Noir. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 32% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose draws you in with aromas of dark raspberry, black cherry and pipe smoke. Mid weight in style, with vivid flavors of blackberry and black raspberry that grab hold of the mid palate with a vengeance. Satiny in texture with inviting harmony, and a very long, juicy and berry-fueled finish. You won’t be able to stop at one glass with this beauty. Score: 94. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto BCD Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.57, $44. Indigenous yeast fermentation and aged in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate dark garnet color in the glass. This wine offers the essence of black cherry, blueberry and pomegranate fruit aromas and flavors accented with a pleasing hint of oak spice. A satiny texture and admirable harmony add to the enjoyment. Score: 92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto BCD Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$44. Wine club exclusive, Gold Medal at 2016 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The site of the first Pinot Noir planting by Balletto, originally as a partnership between Balletto (B), Carlson (C) and DeLoach (D). The warmest Pinot Noir site among Balletto estate vineyards. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Rich with dark fruits and savory overtones, this full-bodied wine offers a hedonistic load of sappy blackberry and black raspberry flavors, but is not jammy. Very silky on the palate, with nicely integrated oak support and some finishing length. Score: 91-92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Sexton Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$44. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of dark red fruits, rose petal and spice. Middleweight in style, with fruit flavors of black raspberry and black cherry framed but structured fruit tannins that support rather than impose. Nicely balanced with an intensely fruity finish that leaves a smile. Score: 92-93. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2015 Balletto Sexton Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.59, 500 cases, $44. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 38% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of purple grape, raspberry coulis lead off. Sleek and juicy, with flavors of oak-kissed black raspberry, boysenberry and ollaliberry. Reserved tannins, welcome acidity, and a pleasing but not intense finish. Score: 92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2014 Balletto Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.3% alc., $28. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. A solid barrel fermented wine showing barrel influence through aromas and flavors of warm croissant, toast, caramel and honey accentuating the fruit notes of baked apple, lemon creme accented by a touch of butter. An easy drinking table wine that finishes with juicy goodness. Score: 88. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.57, 8,260 cases, $29. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of Bing cherry, pie spice and tobacco lead to a light, cherrydriven wine that is suave and easy going on the palate. Flavors of spice, dried herbs and cherry cola add interest as does a deft touch of oak. The wine finishes with a flourish of cherry and strawberry highlights. Score: 88. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Cider Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.1% alc., 475 cases, $38. Gold Medal 2016 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. This vineyard is located in the Sebastopol Hills and is sustainably farmed. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of lemon oil, pineapple and subtle nutty oak. Soft, sleek and focused, with delightful citrus, white peach, apple, spice and brown butter flavors. A high-brow wine that is quite charming, leaving behind a thirst-quenching finish that urges another sip. Score: 94. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2014 Balletto Sexton Hill Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 425 cases, $38. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. An array of aromas great the drinker, including lemon curd, buttery brioche, Asian pear, waffle and blonde caramel. Nicely composed, with a flavor profile emphasizing apple with added tastes of lemon, pear and pineapple. Silky in the mouth with admirable balance. Score: 93. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2014 Balletto BCD Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.59, 560 cases, $42. Aged in French oak barrels, 42% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. This wine smells of crushed blueberries and the blackest cherries with a subtle touch of oak. The spiced black cherry fruit enters with purpose and explodes on the mid palate, leading to an intense, marvelous finish. Soothing and refined with nuances of cola, herbs and sweet oak adding interest. Balance is spot on in this highly enjoyable juice. Score: 92. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Cider Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.58, 620 cases, $42. Vineyard is located in the Sebastopol Hills at 950 feet elevation and is planted primarily to California heritage clones of Pinot Noir. Aged in French oak barrels, 26% new. Aged in French oak barrels, 26% new. · Moderate light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of oak-infused cherry and herbs. Light to mid weight flavors of red cherry, red berry, blueberry and root vegetables with an imposing oak thread. Tannins and acidity are in balance and the wine is forward drinking, but doesn’t excite. Score: 88. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Emerson Block Burnside Road Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 165 cases, $42. This 1-acre parcel is owned by the Emerson family and is surrounded by Burnside Road Vineyard. · Light cherry red color in the glass. The perfume of fresh crushed cherries, cranberries and oak spice set the stage for the light to mid weight, elegantly presented flavors of red and blue berries and cherries with a welcome touch of spice. A satiny mouthfeel entices, the tannins are suave, and the oak is woven deftly in this feminine styled, but highly flavorful, wine. Score: 92. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Sexton Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.59, 680 cases, $42. A cold and steep hillside vineyard located southwest of Sebastopol. Aged in French oak barrels, 32% new. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Light to mid weight in character, but very flavorful, with a noble attack of cherry and raspberry fruit flavors accented with dried herbs and oak spice and displaying a slight confected tone. Juicy and invigorating, with soft tannins and an extended finish. Score: 91. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto 18 Barrel Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 450 cases, $44. Composed of grapes from estate vineyards in the hills southwest of Sebastopol. · Dazzling aromas of wild berry jam and dark muddled cherries. Superb presentation of a mixture of dark red cherry and berry fruits that enter with aplomb, expand in the mouth and finish with memorable length. Silken in texture, with a splendid acid underbody, offering elegance with power. A subtle sense of earthiness, terra cotta and mushroom add a savory note that tantalizes. Score: 94. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Burnside Road Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 630 cases, $44. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Black cherry and raspberry fruits are featured in the middleweight styled wine that adds a touch of nutty oak and earthy flora tone. There is noticeable length on the highly enjoyable finish that offers thirst quenching vibrancy. Score: 92. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Balletto Winery Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.57, 593 cases, $44. A favorite 4-acre block located west of the winery in Santa Rosa. Aged in French oak barrels, 32% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. This is a toned and trim wine that offers aromas of Bing cherry and red berry on the vine leading to an intense attack of mid weight plus melange of dark red and purple berry flavors enhanced with an overlay of spice. Impeccably balanced and juicy with a seductively soft mouthfeel and an intensely fruity finish. Score: 93. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Balletto Vineyards Brut Rosé Russian River Valley Sparkling Wine

Inviting bead, with plenty of Pinot Noir character. Dry with a quenching finish driven by both yeast and fruit notes. Score: 92. Reviewed June 4, 2017

2013 Balletto Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.6% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.55, 1,273 cases, $28. Estate grown and bottled. 65% Occidental Road, 18% Saxton Hill, and 17% Cider Ridge vineyards. Goldridge soils. Harvest Brix 21.7º-23.3º. 70% clone 17 (Robert Young Selection) and 30% Old Wente clone. Barrel fermented with lees stirring, 100% malolactic fermentation. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of green apple, lime, lemon and buttery oak. Apple-driven flavors on the palate have good richness and are complimented by oak. The wine is pleasant, but lacks a little vibrancy and finishes a bit shallow. Score: 88. Reviewed July 13, 2015 ARTICLE »

2013 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.56, 9,550 cases. $29. Estate grown from 7 different vineyards. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 36% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. This is a wine that aims to please with inviting scents of Bing cherry, spice, sandalwood and vanilla. Lighter in weight and offering welcoming elegance, the core of cherry fruit is juicy and flavorful, and balanced with supple tannins. Simple and straightforward, but a very good daily drinker. Score: 89. Reviewed July 12, 2015 ARTICLE »

2013 Balletto Cider Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.56, 485 cases, 480 cases, $38. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The mantle of oak in this wine is subtle and complimentary. Aromas of lemon, yellow peach and salt air lead to a moderately rich core of baked apple, lemon pie and ripe nectarine flavors. The satiny texture and long lemony finish appeals. Score: 91. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Balletto Sexton Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 480 cases, $38. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. This wine has more vibrant bravado compared to the more creamy Cedar Ridge bottling and speaks more of a “stony minerality.” Citrus-driven, with a hint of lightly buttered brioche, this silky wine finishes with a steely resolve that is thirst quenching. Score: 93. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Balletto Sexton Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.58, 608 cases, $42. Harvest Brix 23.7º and 25.3º. Sourced from an estate vineyard southwest of Sebastopol. Grower is John Balletto and winemaker is Anthony Beckman. Clones are Calera (95%) and Swan (5%). · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely, exuberant aromas of Bing cherries and baking spices. Juicy mid weight flavors of Bing cherries, raspberries and boysenberries. Ideal balance with plenty of finishing fruit goodness and length on the dry finish. A forward-drinking crowd pleaser. Score: 91. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 Balletto Estate Bottled Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $17 (retail $28). Double Gold Medal 2011 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of black cherries, black plums and blackberries, veering to the ripe side. Wood-kissed darker fruits on the palate with a citrus peel note in the background that lingers on the finish. Lacks conviction and a little too oaky, but pleasant. Decent. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Balletto Burnside Road Vineyard Estate Bottled Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 350 cases, $35 (retail $40). Gold Medal 2011 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of very ripe dark berries and plums with hints of prune and oak. Middleweight very ripe fruit flavors with notes of Hoison sauce and rhubarb. A bit linear and bogged down with oak. Soft tannins make for easy drinking. Disappoints for a medal winner, but may find fans among those who prefer very ripe flavored Pinot Noir. Good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.59, 4,004, $24. Sourced from four vineyards, 16 different lots, 12 different clones. Natural yeast fermentation. Aged in 25% new French oak barrels for 9 months. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Penetrating aromas of blackberry jam with hints of spice, purple roses and oak. Moderately intense core of dark berry and stone fruits with a lasting impression of Hoisin sauce on the finish. Veers to the riper fruit side. Some silky charm with bright acidity. ($16 at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa). Good (+). Reviewed March 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Balletto Burnside Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 300 cases, $22. · Demure aromas of dark red fruits with a faint echo of oak. Lip-smacking sweet dark red fruits with a hint of spice and anise. Full-bodied and rich with healthy ripe tannins and a tangy finish. Huge bang for the buck. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Balletto Winery Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 300 cases, $22. Sourced from the best grapes surrounding the winery. · Very appealing aromas of black cherries and black raspberries riff with spice and lavender. A solid wine with respectable black cherry fruit intensity, remarkable for its smooth texture and impressive for its very clean finish. An incredible value. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Estate Bottled Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $25. · An easy drinker featuring dark red Bing cherries, smoke and forest floor presented in a lighter style with soft tannins, a silky texture and a refreshing finish. Commendable balance. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Estate Bottled Winery Block Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $28. · Sensual aromas of confected berries, cherries and baking spices. Rich cherry liquor on the palate, nicely spiced, beautifully balanced, with gossamer tannins and a clean finish. Holds up in the glass nicely over time. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 3,178 cases, $20. Clones 667, 777, 32, 114, Swan, 37, 9 and 23. Aged 9 months in French oak. · Black cherry nose with a forest floor accent. Nicely spiced fruit flavors. A medium-bodied, light and silky wine which finishes clean. Very enjoyable and a great drink for a Jackson. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »



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