Featured User: Greg Ballington

Greg started traveling when he was young, born in the Netherlands, then moved back to South Africa to live with family before coming to the United States. He attended university at Penn State ("WE ARE!!"), and is currently an Auditor working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northern Virginia. In his spare time he likes to focus on his true passion. From making furniture out of wine crates, to reviewing wines for wineries, to helping wineries reach consumers through his Millennial Drinkers blog, Greg loves all things wine. Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Greg: I have always been around wine. Some of my first memories were when I moved to the United States and helped my father organize his cellar. (Accidently broke a bottle of 2003 Ornellaia and was not allowed in for a while). My own personal interest in alcohol started with craft beer in college. I only started getting into wine a year or so later once I had graduated college and was helping my father get rid of his older South African bottlings that he had brought over when he moved to the States. Then a trip to Napa Valley in October of 2015 and Stellenbosch led to India (my fiancée) and I starting Millennial Drinkers where we started to review wines, mainly focusing on smaller production wines. Now, after taking the WSET II we have decided to take it a step further and are working with smaller estates to help them enter the US market. D: What wine region are you wild about right now? G: Now that is a difficult question. I always love trying new wines from different wineries and regions. At the moment I have been really into Bordeaux blends from Tuscany and am always trying to find new wines from South Africa in the USA. I’m also quite into smaller wineries from Australia making all kinds of Syrah/Shiraz. Honestly, I’m a little bit all over the place on this one. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? G: The most unusual wine I tried was probably when I visited this local bistro in Oakton, VA (Oakton Wine & Bistro). Bryan, the owner, did a blind tasting of this 2009 Spanish wine for me and India. It was so funky, in a good way, savory with some sweetness, similar to "The Rocks" in Walla Walla. I had no idea what it was, but it turned out to be a Spanish Pinot Noir. I loved it and had to grab a couple more bottles to take home. D: What are some tips for aspiring connoisseurs? G: Try tasting blind. At least once a quarter we get together with a group of friends and a theme for the tasting. Let’s say the theme is Cabernet Franc; someone can bring one from California, Loire Valley and South Africa. It’s a lot of fun to compare them between one another and you can learn a lot from it too. D: What is your golden rule for wine? G: Don’t be scared to try something new. If you hate it, you learned a lesson for future endeavors and if you love it then you found a new area to explore. Just make sure to always go in with an open mind! D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? G: Most likely a Syrah. Sometimes I can show a touch of maturity like some of the meatier and smoky Syrahs from Northern Rhone and at other times I can be a little robust and excited like those voluptuous and jammy Shirazes from Australia.

Odette

Estate Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Greg Ballington
9.4

Last blind red for my father’s 53rd birthday. We tried four 2014s, two were Cabernet Sauvignons and two were Bordeaux Blends.

Completely coats the glass, dark purplish red. Super dark and rich on the nose with baking spices, black fruits, gravel, and dark chocolate. Heavy tannins (7.5/10) and full bodied. Tight and rough palate to start. After a 3.5 hr decant it started to open up nicely with a layered richness. Notes of black currants, berries, cinnamon, dark cocoa and spices. Long and lingering finish. Drink till 2037.
— 4 months ago

Sean BallingtonIndia Okoh
with Sean and India
Isaac, Paul and 29 others liked this
Phil A

Phil A Premium Badge

@Greg Ballington Greg nice article Cheers from Canada 🍷🇨🇦

Cayuse Vineyards

God Only Knows Armada Vineyard Grenache 2012

Greg Ballington
9.5

Deep garnet red, opaque core. Definitely has the 'Cayuse Funk'. Stinky and dirty with animal notes like leather. Some floral notes and perfumes herbs too. Love the super funky nose. Moderate tannins (6.5/10) and full bodied Love the complexity and depth on the palate. Layers of savory herbs and olive tapenade. Great structure and super love finish. Time will definitely benefit this wine. Drink till 2030. — a year ago

Sean BallingtonIndia OkohKim Stanbro
with Sean, India and 1 other
David, Bill and 45 others liked this
Hugh O'Riordan

Hugh O'Riordan

I've noticed Cayuse funk too. I really like the God only knows.

Château Mouton Rothschild

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 1990

Greg Ballington
9.3

Super fun wine to get us ready for the Bordeaux Masters Class this afternoon.

Medium garnet core with bricking in the edges. Layered nose with some definite bret, not off putting at all. Notes of barnyard, leather and dried red cherries. Well integrated and balanced. Moderate tannins (6/10) and medium bodied. Very rustic on the palate with some dried red cherries, forest floor and cedar. Long finish. Enough finesse to go another year or two but why wait, drinking well right now. Drink till 2019.
— a year ago

Sean BallingtonIndia Okoh
with Sean and India
India, Shay and 39 others liked this
Greg Ballington

Greg Ballington Influencer Badge Premium Badge

@Rob Brobst III i believe the Ritz in D.C. Its for Heart's Delight
Martin G Rivard

Martin G Rivard Influencer Badge

@Greg Ballington Who's holding your class? Michael Troise?
Greg Ballington

Greg Ballington Influencer Badge Premium Badge

The wine estate technical managers and owners @Martin G Rivard

St. George Spirits

Nola Coffee Liquor

Greg Ballington
9.5

Had to find a bottle after @Severn Goodwin recommended it. Grabbed this for my fathers’s 53rd.

Medium blackish brown. Smells like a heavy dark roast with some brown sugar. So smooth and integrated. Not as sweet as expected but tastes like legitimate coffee with finesse. Lovely and cannot wait to find some more.
— 4 months ago

Sean BallingtonIndia Okoh
with Sean and India
Severn, Paul and 21 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

Severn Goodwin Influencer Badge

I told you it was crazy! Really glad you like it.

Force Majeure

Parvata Grenache Blend 2015

Greg Ballington
9.3

Deep and dark purplish red with a blueish few. Completely coats the glass. Dark nose with purple florals, perfume, minerality, iron, and dark raspberries. Medium plus tannins (6.5/10) and full bodied. Nice layers of pepper, rich dark cocoa, dusty, dark berries and tons of finesse. A little dry with a long and lingering finish. Will definitely benefit from a year or two in bottle. Drink from 2019 till 2029. (93+)


This is the second vintage of Force Majeure's Parvata, a Mourvèdre-Syrah-Grenache blend made from estate fruit. The name of this bottling, Parvata, means "Mountain" in sanskrit (a Hindi dialect) pulling in all the greatness that can come from mountain Rhone varietals. At the moment the first two bottlings have been Mourvèdre led but according to Todd Alexander, the winemaker, this can always change depending on how some of their other vines on the estate develop. Made up of 46% Mourvèdre, 34% Syrah and 20% Grenache. Also aged for 18 months in 30% new French oak barrles. Only 300 cases produced. This is definitely a wine to keep your eye out for.

Sample provided by the estate. Released today for $70.00.
— 4 months ago

Sean BallingtonIndia Okoh
with Sean and India
Shay, Jason and 17 others liked this

Wise Acre Vineyard

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Greg Ballington
9.1

I believe this estate closed down and the last release was the 2013. Retailed for $150.00.

Medium ruby red. Elegant and light on the nose, seems like one the OG styled wines in Napa. Herbal on the nose with black fruits, forest floor, and a touch of perfume. Medium tannins (6/10) and medium bodied. Elegant palate with perfume, forest floor, spices, cedar and black currants. A nice amount of dryness and long finish. Drink till 2024.
— 4 months ago

Sean BallingtonIndia Okoh
with Sean and India
David, Eric and 14 others liked this
Joshua Fisher

Joshua Fisher

I should find our if the estate has ended production. Have the 2012 on the winelist at Brasswood. I’ll ask Dick Grace (the dad) when i see him next.
Joshua Fisher

Joshua Fisher

Yup . The wise acre vineyard has been folded into the Grace family wines. Dick took out / replanted his vineyard on hwy 29 this year and will use the wise acre vineyard fruit for his own label

Pahlmeyer

Napa Valley Merlot 2007

Greg Ballington
9.2

Thank you @David A Lentine for cracking open this beautiful wine!

Excellent Merlot, showed very well against some difficult competition. Medium ruby red with high intensity. No decant but nose was showing a mix of dark cocoa, baking spices and dark berries. Moderate tannins (6.5/10) with a rich and full body. Long finish showing similar characteristics to the nose. Delicious merlot as always. Drink till 2026.
— 2 years ago

Mike RSean SmithDavid L
with Mike, Sean and 4 others
Mike, Sean and 40 others liked this
Greg Ballington

Greg Ballington Influencer Badge Premium Badge

@Martin G Rivard tried tagging you in on this but wasn't letting me @Delectable Wine
Greg Ballington

Greg Ballington Influencer Badge Premium Badge

Thanks @Martin A. Cody sorry for accidentally tagging you! And who doesn't have some of the Cubs fever!