2018 Ballard Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast
91 Points, The Tasting Panel
The 2018 Ballard Lane Cabernet Sauvignon is influenced by the warm days and cool nights of the interior valleys of Paso Robles and Southern Monterey County. The wine shows primary aromas of boysenberry, raspberry, cassis and ripe cherry with hints of Paso Robles dust and baking spices. The palate brings broad, ripe black and red berry fruit, balanced with richness and finesse on the mid-palate, and finishing with round tannins.
Taco Tuesday, Burger Night, Sausage & Mushroom Pizza, a Steak Sandwich or strong cheeses
Blend: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Sirah, 1% Merlot
Appellation: Central Coast
Harvest: Night picked at 24.8 brix
Fermentation: BDX & D254 yeast, pumped over daily, pressed off at dry
Barrel Regime: 12 months on American & French oak
TA: 7.35 g/L
Included in the Box
6x 2018 Ballard Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast
12x 2018 Ballard Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast
A former Wells Fargo stagecoach stop, the town of Ballard was founded in 1880 with lofty dreams of being a future metropolis. But sometimes history has a different plan. While Ballard is the oldest community within the famed Santa Ynez Valley on California’s Central Coast, it is also the smallest, despite the dreams of its founders.
Ballard was named for William Ballard, who ran the Wells Fargo station from 1862 to 1870. Although Ballard served as the connection point between rural and seaside communities, it never grew in mass like its neighbor Santa Barbara, and is now much as it was over 100 years ago.
Today, Ballard is a combination of sleepy village and upscale bedroom community. The surrounding area is noted for its thriving and well-respected wine industry and was featured in the Academy Award nominated film “Sideways.” Vineyards, coastal bluffs, and ranches merge seamlessly together through roads the locals call “lanes.” Ultimately, many of these paths end up in Ballard.
The Ballard Lane wines are a reflection of the Millers, a Central Coast family who has farmed the area for five generations. Their proprietary knowledge of the climate and terroirs of the Central Coast are reflected in each bottle of Ballard Lane wine.
Hi again, my Casematers! Casematiens? We’ll work on it.
I was delighted to find a signature-required notice just before the weekend signaling I may have been selected as a lab rat. I’m mostly into red blends and Cabs right now so they nailed it sending me this Ballard Lane varietal.
I opened it last night – well if I’m being honest it was about 3:30 in the afternoon but quarantine, amirite? – and it had a really mellow aroma, almost non-existent, quite frankly. Usually I get a hint of booze or fruit, but it was pretty tame on the nose.
First pour. Bright, and deep red in color. Now I’m getting some of the aroma I expected. A lot of fruit in this one, and started thinking that it might be a little young.
I found my first glass, especially the first few sips to be pretty sweet, but also with a dry finish. VERY fruit forward, lots of dark berries, plum, and cherry. It was a little surprising only because it was drier than most cabs I’ve had of late.
I should mention here, I’ve REALLY been enjoying Spellbound Cabernet that was on Casemates a little while ago. It’s by far my favorite cab in the last few years and my new standard for a daily drinker as far as I’m concerned. If you tried the Spellbound, and liked it, this will be a good way to compare them. If you haven’t, FIND IT. It’s awesome.
It was not as immediately drinkable as the Spellbound. Not that it was undrinkable – not that my any measure – simply that it had that “I just opened it and it needs to mellow” thing going on. Slightly astringent, but fully knowing some breathe-time would account for that, for sure.
After giving it about 20 minutes, I paired it with some beef tacos with homemade guacamole. (yum!)
Pretty good way to go. The wine did mellow and while it’s still pretty fruit forward and sweet, it was a good compliment to spicy and savory notes of the dish.
I plan on enjoying more of this today, with hopes that it’s mellowed out even more. Not knowing the sales price at the time, I took a guess and would have put it $13-14 a bottle. So I was pretty shocked to see it $10 for the half and $8 and change for case. Is it as good as the Spellbound (for me)? No, but under $9 for a quality Cab that can rate well as anyone’s daily drinker? This is practically a steal.
I’ll probably go in for a half-case, at this price, it’s a no-brainer. I’ll provide a small update this evening now that the bottle has had a day to breathe.
@ACraigL I definitely agree on the comparison to the Spellbound (I so wish I had bought more of that one). I bought the 2017 Ballard Lane last year and I might have to pull out a bottle tonight (for science!). I have a full cellar with 2 more cases on order so I will probably hold out on this deal and wait for something else (more spellbound? )
With a dash of Petite Sirah and Merlot blended in, this full-bodied Cab, aged 12 months in American and French oak, offers a pillowlike texture. A perfume of raspberry, plum, and white pepper arises before the almost weightless and slightly dusty palate reveals silky tannins and sun-kissed cherries. 91. Jan/Feb '21
Some additional info from producer website:
Production: 21,101 cases
Winemaker: John Crandall
100% malolactic fermentation
@WesHagen Thanks for joining the conversation and I appreciate your words. So many silly laws. I purchased a case last time for some friends and they spoke very highly of it so was going to grab one for myself this time! Alas.
At any rate, thanks for being a part of Casemates and for being engaged in the conversation. I can tell you we all really appreciate it! Cheers.
We were scheduled to get a bottle to evaluate on Friday but UPS keeps saying they attempted to deliver for the last two business days and we have never gotten a delivery notice. We will try to follow up with UPS tomorrow and report back if we are able to finalize the delivery.
@ACraigL you had me at the mention of Spellbound… I live in the Willamette Valley so there’s no shortage of interesting local wines to try, but that Spellbound cab has been really tough to beat for a daily drinker, especially for the price.
@WesHagen funny you mention Whistler’s Bend - I was there the summer before last for an FPV drone meet/race. Hopefully they’ll do it again this coming summer, it’s a lovely spot to fly.
I didn’t get any good video but here’s some from friends I met there:
@MuchoRojo definitely gonna give it to the cab. I feel like the petite sirah starts going downhill pretty quickly once opened, and as a wise man once said, you know when I drink alone I prefer to be by myself.
@Winedavid49 Went to rack the case I received last Friday and found evidence of two bottles leaking. Not sure what to make of this (I noted the bottles and will eventually try to compare them with intact ones).