Not to sound like a broken record, but when all else fails and you’re stuck at your local wine section, looking for a great Pinot may I humbly suggest these words: Russian River Valley. Sonoma County. 2008 or 2007.
Like this ’08 Balletto, it’s hard to go wrong with RRV Pinot.
The AVA located about 55 miles north of San Francisco has just the right mix of cool morning weather combined with that incredible and temperate afternoon sun that just makes any grapes’ day.
I found this one, made from grapes from the Burnside Road vineyard high in the hills west of Sebastopol, to be a delicious — albeit lighter — example of what makes a great Pinot, great: blackberries, smooth tannins with a hint of vanilla and cardamom.
It might be hard to find, only 300 cases were made. If you do score a bottle, be sure to savor the occasion.
2008 Balletto Burnside Road Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
300 cases, 14.2%
10 months French Oak (35% new, 30% one-year-old, 35% neutral oak)
$34, 91 pts.