Winery: Balistreri Vinyards
Wine Name/Vineyard: Little Feet Merlot
Wine Category: Merlot
Grape blend: 100% Merlot
Bottle size: 750 ml
Region: Produced and bottled in Denver
State or country: Colorado
Cases produced: N/A
The Barrel Cellar Score: 90 points
Review date: March 22, 2020
About the Winemaker: Balistreri’s tasting room isn’t exactly where you might go looking for a winery. It’s about 10 minutes from downtown Denver Colorado. In advance of a trip, I often research local breweries and wineries to visit while I’m there. That’s how I found Balistreri. When I arrived at the winery, I ordered a tasting flight and was pleasantly surprised. There were a few wines in the flight that I was really impressed with, this was one of them.
The grapes Balistreri uses for their wines are sourced mostly from vineyards around the state of Colorado. Most of these grapes are grown on the western facing slopes of the Rockies on the western side of the state, although periodically grapes are sourced from California. The wines are produced and bottled at the winery in Denver.
John Balistreri’s grapes are hand harvested, fermented with indigenous yeast, and pressed post fermentation. Additionally, no sulfites are used in the making his wines.
Nose: Freshly crushed and perfectly ripened cherry, red delicious apple skin, oak, and tobacco.
Taste: Bright red fruit, red apple skin, bay leaf.
Assessment: I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to encourage you to try this wine. I fear that because it is from Colorado, a region not typically thought of when it comes to quality wine, that you will miss out on a great bottle of wine. It’s good, It’s really good. It has bright and fresh fruit notes, grippy tannins, and huge character. The wine is balanced perfectly, even with a high ABV there is not alcohol heat pulling attention from the flavor notes of the juice. This wine has it all, complexity, character, balance, and a nice full body. At nine years old, it’s ready to drink now, but easily could handle another couple of years in the bottle.
Balistreri Vinyards’ 2012 Little Feet Merlot is a very good wine. 90 points.
Pairing recommendation: Grilled red meat, pasta with red sauce, or dark chocolate.