Napa Valley Day 2, part 1
Ballentine has a storied and rich history in the Napa Valley. In fact, they are celebrating 100th anniversary this year. Originating as the Pocai Family, the winery has fluctuated back and forth between Pocai and Ballentine for the better part of the last 80 years, and Pocai Vineyard is still providing some of the best zin grapes around. Van (Ballentine) and Betty (Pocai) have been the embodiment of these 2 families coming together. Van has worked over 60 harvests in Napa Valley, and certainly knows where all the bodies are buried. As we tasted through just about everything you can imagine, we were amazed at the breadth of the wines. My 2 favs were undoubtedly the 05 Chenin Blanc, which has got to be the best example of this grape I’ve ever seen in the US (they used to supply most of Chappelet’s production, so don’t poo poo me), and the as yet unreleased, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. Ballentine has always been known for their Zins, and the multiple examples were all impressive in a very noble and structured way. The inclusion of the best oak barrels (Gamba, among others) today, is helping to elevate this historic producer to newfound heights.