Balter is one of the estates the Consorzio took us to in the course of the Trento DOC presentation held in December 2012. A fine choice; the winery is located in a fortified Maso that has belonged to the Balter family for more than a century, and whose ten hectares of vineyards are entirely surrounded by walls. Quite beautiful, high on the left flank (if I remember right) of the Val D’Adige south of Rovereto, and well worth driving up to for the views, the wines, and the cellars, which are underground and extend back under the vineyards.
I liked the wines we tasted then, and was just as impressed by the current vintages presented this year at Vinitaly, where I also took advantage of the opportunity to taste the still wines that weren’t included in the Trento DOC presentations.
Balter Trento DOC Brut
100% Chardonnay, which spent 36 months on the lees; though the vintage isn’t declared it’s a 2009. Fine greenish brassy yellow with brilliant brassy reflections and fine steady perlage. The bouquet is deft, with white blossoms and wet bread crumbs mingled with some butterscotch and pleasing underlying spice. On the palate it’s full and crisp with moderately intense rather bitter gunflint minerality that gains support from the sparkle, and flows into a clean rather bitter finish. Nice finesse and quite approachable.
Balter Trento DOC Rosé Brut
This is Pinot Noir; which spent 36 months on the lees. Pale onionskin pink with brassy reflections and fine perlage. The bouquet is delicate, with some red berry fruit and delicate berry fruit acidity with underlying clean spicy accents. On the palate it’s full, with fairly bright, delicate mineral laced sour cherry fruit – the fruit is red but not intense – and by greenish gunflint minerality that flows into a clean savory mineral finish. Quite approachable and pleasingly mineral, with nice savory accents in the finish that leave the palate very clean.
Balter Trento DOC Brut Riserva 2006
This is 80% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Noir; it spent 5 years on the lees. Brassy greenish yelow with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is intense, with wet bread crumbs and clover honey mingled with greenish accents and underlying bitterness. Nice depth and elegance. On the palate it’s full and crisp with pleasant bitter minerality and spice supported by creaminess from the sparkle and by flinty accents that flow into a clean bitter finish. Deft, and will be a very nice aperitif, or will also contribute significantly to a meal.
Balter Sauvignon Vallagarina IGT 2012
Pale brassy yellow with brassy reflections and white nail. The bouquet is intense, with gooseberry and deft acidity supported by hints of sweaty blonde. Quite classic. On the palate it’s ample, with fairly rich gunflint laced mineral citric fruit supported by clean flinty tannins from grape that flow into a pleasantly flinty finish. Refreshing and will be versatile at the table, working well with fish, white meats, and creamy dishes.
Balter Lagrein Merlot Vallagarina IGT 2012
This is a 60-40 blend; it’s lively cherry ruby with brilliant cherry reflections and some violet in the nail. The bouquet is fresh, with a nice combination of currants and berry fruit from the Merlot, and minerality and underbrush from the Lagrein. On the palate it’s medium bodied with bright sour cherry fruit supported by tannins that combine smoothness with some bitter underbrush and flow into a clean slightly underbrush-laced tannic finish, while the acidity is mineral and has hints of graphite shaving bitterness. Quite approachable and will work well with quickly grilled meats or light stews.
Balter Cabernet Sauvignon Vallagarina IGT
This is a blend (and an experiment); they had some leftover 2008 Cabernet and decided to combine it with the 2009 the respective percentages are 30 and 70. They liked the result, and here it is: Deep cherry ruby with some black almandine reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is classic Cabernet Sauvignon with red berry fruit supported by warm balsamic accents and cean roasted bell pepper mingled with moderate alcohol and warm balsamic acidity. On the palate it’s medium bodied, with bright sour berry fruit supported by vegetal accents and warmth, and by tannins that have a dusky burr and flow into a fairly long berry fruit finish with a green pepper balsamic underpinning. Quite approachable, and will drink very well with red meats.
Balter Barbanico Vallagarina IGT 2009
This is 60% Lagrein, and 20% each Cabernet and Merlot. Deep cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is intense, with red berry fruit – currants and forest berry fruit – supported by minerality, graphite shavings, and fairly intense underbrush with some brambles as well. Nice depth. On the palate it’s ample and very smooth, with rich mineral laced fruit supported by deft mineral acidity and by tannins that are very smooth, but do have a steely underpinning, and flow into a fresh sour berry fruit finish. Quite pleasant, and will drink very well with red meats or light stews. It is drinkable now, but will also age wel l for 5-8 years.