2015 Balletto Brut Rose, Russian River Valley, California (750ml)

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Founder and owner John Balletto started the business after the untimely death of his father in 1977. At the age of 17, when the family needed him the most, he put their needs before his own and relinquished several college athletic scholarship offers so he could stay home and help his mother, Hazel, run the family’s small five-acre farm.

The Ballettos were determined to make the business a success, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s they purchased parcels of land to gradually increase vegetable production. One of those properties is where the Balletto Vineyards winery stands today. By 1994, the Balletto family had grown the business into the largest vegetable farm in Northern California, growing more than 70 different vegetables on 700-plus acres. More than two million cases of mixed vegetables moved through the premises per year during its peak. Balletto Vineyards was born as the family segued from farming vegetables to grapes in 2001, and today produces all of its wine from sustainably-farmed estate vineyards located throughout the cool southern third of the Russian River Valley.

The grapes for this Brut Rosé—60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay—were grown on Balletto’s estate Russian River Valley vineyards. The harvest was gently whole-cluster pressed and fermented in both stainless steel (Pinot Noir) and old neutral oak (Chardonnay). The Chardonnay was sent through 100 percent malolactic fermentation for added depth and texture.

Made in the traditional manner of completing a secondary in-bottle fermentation to produce the sparkle, this wine was then left on the yeast for five years before it was disgorged. It’s amazing what happens to the flavors of a sparkling wine when it sits that long. The mid-palate texture builds, and the aromas shift to incorporate a yeasty or toasty quality. The idea behind the brut rosé is to balance the complexities that bottle and lees aging bring, while maintaining a hint of red fruit, a crisp focus and a bit of minerality. Dosage was kept to a minimum to highlight the purity of the fruit.

Delicate salmon hue with golden highlights. Inviting aromas of red and green apples, stone fruit and raspberry, with pleasant yeasty notes. Light, frothy mousse, flavors of fresh strawberry, raspberry, orange blossom and a touch of yeastiness. The finish is long and juicy with a beautifully focused acid backbone.

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