Nestled in the Russian River Valley you’ll find Balletto, which makes a wide range of fairly affordable wines in a prestige region. Here’s a look at three current releases from the operation.
2018 Balletto Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – A bit gummy and quite floral, this rose doesn’t exactly raise the bar, though if you’re in an area that’s experiencing an early spring, it might be a nice option for deckside sipping with the sun on your face. Notes of orange blossoms, honey, and peanut brittle all make for a slightly exotic mix of flavors — which I’d probably pair with a robust fruit and cheese plate. B / $18
2016 Balletto Zinfandel Russian River Valley – The Russian River isn’t exactly renowned for its zins, and Balletto’s isn’t really an exception. This relatively thin wine offers notes of pizza dough, bitter roots, and dusty leather, none of which are things I look for in a dazzling zinfandel. Bitter on the finish with barely a hint of fruit, it’s pretty much a pass unless you’re looking for a wildly out-of-bounds style for this wine. C- / $22
2015 Balletto Syrah Russian River Valley – Beefy and peppery, this is a fairly classic representation of syrah, balancing fruit and more savory notes without veering wildly one way or the other. Secondary notes of roasted red pepper, incense, and Asian spices provide a stage for a somewhat odd finish which evokes sweet strawberry notes. Curious. B / $25