With only $250 to his name, 17 year-old John Balletto transformed his five-acre home site into a farm to support his family after the untimely death of his father. Over thirty years later he now farms more than 650 acres of premium wine grapes in the coveted Russian River Valley, and uses the top 10 percent of those grapes to craft distinct estate grown and estate bottled wine.
In Balletto’s Winery Block, soils are diverse and change from one spot to the next. Hidden among rows, a small, nearly invisible band of fine, sandy earth stretches through the vines—and the result is fruit that transforms into wines that make a statement. This never before, never again Barrel Auction lot is a blend of 50 percent whole cluster fermentation and 50 percent destemmed fruit. The wine booms out of the glass with equal parts savory earthiness, bright red berries and unidentifiable yumminess. The tannin structure, weight and balance hint that the wine will improve gracefully during the next decade, and it captures Balletto’s unmatched ability to create unforgettably expressive wines.
A winemaker dinner or store visit is offered as part of this lot. Must be scheduled on a mutually agreeable date and booked within a year of receipt.