Balletto is primarily a grape grower — 90% of the company’s harvest is sold to other vintners — but it also vinifies its own wines, including a wide range of NorCal classic styles. Recently we tried four modestly priced bottlings. Thoughts follow.
2014 Balletto Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – Fresh, with light strawberries and some floral notes. A touch of creme brulee underneath on the palate, with grapefruit notes adding tartness to the finish. B / $18
2014 Balletto Chardonnay Teresa’s Unoaked Russian River Valley – A crisp and nicely acidic unoaked chardonnay, loaded with green apple and grapefruit, plus a dusting of fresh herbs — rosemary in particular. Cleansing on the finish. A- / $20
2014 Balletto Chardonnay Russian River Valley – Restrained on the butter/wood component, but the toasty wood notes eventually evoke brown butter and some melon notes. Uncomplicated but well balanced. A- / $28
2013 Balletto Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – A bit bloated at first, with modest cherry and currant notes and some licorice. Dried herbs lead to a light finish, but give this wine some time and some light chocolate notes emerge, adding some structure. B / $29