But before I talk about these two Balverne wines, I want to talk about tasting notes and their value or lack of value to a wine consumer. Within the wine writing community, you will find tasting notes widely used to talk about wine. Many wineries also put their tasting notes on the technical sheet used for “trade and media.” These notes can allow for writing about the wine without ever tasting it. They may also provide insight into the wine for a wine buyer. Although I do not know any buyers that buy wine without tasting it first. So what good do they provide?
Think of it as a picture, a snapshot of the wine at that moment. From a wine “enthusiast” point of view, these can be fun to read to see how much the wine has or has not changed. We might also get a giggle out of the poetic verbosity of the writer. But do they help the average wine consumer? I am not sure. Some of the descriptors get crazily specific that one has to wonder in what world the writer lives.
I admit that on occasion, I have gone a bit overboard and, in the future, will restrain from such descriptors as best I can. Because the bottom line is that taste is very personal and unique to the individual. So when reading tasting notes. Take them for what they are, one person’s experience on a given day, at a given time.
The bottom line for wine – do you like it or not. Everything else is fluff.
The best way to know if a wine is right for you is to taste it or look to someone you trust, who knows your palate who has tasted it.
Balverne Wines – Two Summer Releases
Balverne Wines is the sister label of Notre Vue Estate Winery and Vineyards. The estate is within two of California’s most famous viticultural appellations: Russian River Valley and Chalk Hill. This Sonoma County estate is a total of 710-acres with 250 acres planted to vine and 350 acres dedicated to “Forever Wild” open space. A large portion of the grapes grown on the estate sells to other wineries. At the same time, selected blocks are handcrafted into small quantities of their own wines under the Notre Vue Estate and Balverne labels. We received samples of two of their summer releases—Rosé of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River, Sonoma
This wine is a pale, light coral, more similar to what I would call a blush. The nose is soft and muted. Gary found strawberry creme as the primary aroma. I was more of a generic melon with a hint of strawberry. The body was light with mild mid-palate acidity. Faint strawberry notes continued through to the palate. The wine finishes with a bit of chalk. I would drink this wine with food.
From the winemaker: This delicate wine offers aromatics reminiscent of watermelon, orange rind, and morning roses. Fruity on the palate, the crisp acidity balances flavors of strawberries, guava, and white peach. Try this Rosé with a fresh goat cheese salad, seafood, or lightly grilled summer fruit. Be careful, though . . . it’s so refreshing that on a hot day, you’ll be reaching for that second bottle in no time!
Russian River Valley * 100% Pinot Noir * 14.1% AVB * Cases Produced 180 * pH 3.36 * SRP is $24.00
2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill, Sonoma
I have a friend who only drinks Sauvignon Blanc. And she loves the Loire and New Zealand-style. This wine is right in her wheelhouse. I am going to have to tell her about it.
The color is a very pale gold that runs clear at the edges. The nose is mildly grassy but also full of gooseberry. The body is light with moderate acidity. The palate shows intense gooseberry with back notes of citrus and a hint of grapefruit.
From the winemaker: With a classic nose of bright citrus, tropical fruits, and grassy notes, this Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing. The palate offers up a lightly honeyed lemon and grapefruit flavors, complemented by a streak of spicy lemongrass. Pair this wine with salads, seafood dishes, and spicy ethnic cuisines.
Chalk Hill * 100% Sauvignon Blanc * 14.2% AVB * Cases Produced 895 * pH 3.36 * SRP is $27.00
Balverne Wine is in Windsor California and can be reached at (707) 433-4050 or [email protected]
That is all for now.
Rick and Gary