92 Insider Points
In Search of Cab, Follow the Hawk
Our friends at Balverne stunned us with their Pinot Noirs, now here they are with an equally stunning Cabernet Sauvignon. It's an easy-drinking Cab, something to have on a weeknight's dinner, or just to enjoy a quick sip after work.
Chalky raspberry starts us on the nose. A rich palate shows ripe plum and blackberry with stony minerality. Medium bodied, it ends with a plum skin finish. Grab this one quick, we got the last of it! 92 Points - JZ April '18
Chalk Hill AVA, Sonoma County
The indomitable spirit of Chalk Hill stands front and center in Balverne’s Estate Cab. With great stage presence, it delivers one helluva full show for the palate, all from single vineyard's stunning fruit.
- Bob Stein and wife Renee brought back and reinvigorated the Balverne name! They bought the property in ‘92; renamed it Windsor Oaks; went on to sell fruit to over 35 of the most well-regarded wineries throughout California; resumed winemaking on the property in ‘05; and finally, brought things full circle by reintroducing the Balverne name to their wines.
- Bringing on stellar winemaker Margaret Davenport didn’t hurt this Cab a bit! She developed her reputation over her tenure at Clos du Bois and now spends her days bringing the same level of winemaking acumen to Balverne.
- When you grab a few bottles of this piece of modern history-making, you’re also going to be privy to an estate-bottled expression of some of the finest terroir in Sonoma County: the Chalk Hill AVA, whose ruggedly pure terrain is perfect for the subtle and complex evolution of the flavors in this wine.
- We sold through the 2012 vintage of the Balverne Estate Red, in part due to the extraordinary winemaking behind the bottle, and in part to the fact that the 2012 vintage, while more than ready to be enjoyed right now, also has a reputation for being perfect for ageing . . . but we dare you to delay gratification.
The Cabernet is richly layered with flavors of spice; vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and cardamom blended with hints of berry, raspberry, and cassis flavors from the grapes. The lengthy finish is smooth and well balanced. This exotic mélange continues to develop during bottle aging. A noteworthy wine will change as you consume it; every swirl and sip will bring forth a new sensory aspect of the wine.
We are very proud to be re-introducing the Balverne name to the wine loving public. Our 710 acre estate, now known as Windsor Oaks, is located just south of Healdsburg in Sonoma County California. The property was part of the Rancho Sotoyome land grant of 1841 and was later acquired by Antonio Perelli-Minetti, who was the first to plant grapes on the property. In the 1920’s the estate was used as a summer residence; extensive stonework from the gardens can still be seen on the property. The estate was purchased in 1972, replanted to grapes and winemaking was begun under the name Balverne. Balverne was a well known wine brand throughout the 1980s, when it was poured at the White House and served in the finest restaurants across the country. The wines were made by two young Davis graduates, class of ’78, Doug Nalle and John Kongsgaard, both of whom have gone on to become highly regarded winemakers at their own wineries.
In 1992 the property was purchased by its current owner Bob Stein, who renamed the property Windsor Oaks Vineyards. The property was successfully managed as a vineyard, selling fruit to over 35 highly regarded wineries throughout the state. Winemaking resumed on the property in 2005 under the Windsor Oaks name and in 2012, Bob and his wife Renee made the decision to honor the legacy of their beloved property by re-introducing the Balverne name.
Our wines are produced by Margaret Davenport, who is well known for her many years at Clos du Bois winery. Our inaugural Pinot Noir, vintage 2010, was produced by the original winemaker for Windsor Oaks, Julie Lumgair. We are also very fortunate to have Balverne’s first winemaker, Doug Nalle, consulting on the wines, bringing his years of experience back to the property where he began his career.
This rich cab will pair well with any hearty comfort food. A meatloaf containing rich flavors or spices comes to mind. While you might think meatloaf could be boring and plain, pair it with this wine and some steamed carrots or potatoes and your palate will thank you.