Archive for the 'Russian River Valley' Category

26
Apr
11

saturday at martinelli winery

So, it’s Saturday we got up early to partake in the free breakfast fare at our hotel before heading off to Sonoma for our visit to Martinelli Winery. I had my route all mapped out and so off we went. After our first encounter with Mayacamas mountain roads last year it was decided that we’d head down and around and then up the 12, however my GPS had other ideas and continued to force me over to the 101 via 116. Now, this was our first time venturing into Sonoma beyond Sonoma Square, so in the end I let my GPS be the guide. But soon enough the large red barn of Martinelli revealed itself from behind the trees and we knew we had arrived.We were scheduled for their VIP tour at 11:00am and we eventually arrived at just about 20 past! We were warmly greeted and taken to the tour already in progress. The day was beautiful, warm and sunny with some morning clouds still hanging around, but no rain in sight! The tour started at the foot of the Giuseppe and Luisa vineyard. We were then taken over towards the crush pad where they talked about their process of harvesting, processing, and making of the wines, interlaced with wonderful family stories.


We tasted a lot of fantastic wines, 8 or 9 in total if a recall but our favorites were the 2009 “Vigneto di Evo” Zinfandel, which was a big bold and juicy zin, with tones of black fruit flavours and just the right amount of sweet tobacco spice. The tannins are really quite smooth and help to round this juice out. It’s a great entry-level bottle (only $30 and 627 cases produced) for those who love a darn good Martinelli zin!


We enjoyed our’s back at the hotel!

Our other favorite was the 2008 “Zio Tony Ranch” Pinot Noir. This pinot brings both power and grace to the table. The nose is warm and welcoming with notes of baking spice mingling with aromas of red cherries and plum. The palate is treated to a full-bodied array of ripe raspberry and black cherries. Once this one opens up the tannins really integrate into the whole structure and are smooth and silky. The finish reveals the hints of vanilla-oak from a year of sitting in 75% new French Oak barrels with it’s gross lees and lasts forever! We saved our bottle for Easter Diner and had it with a traditionally prepared Spiral cut ham that was marinated overnight with pineapple and 7up and then slow roasted with a brown sugar glaze. The pairing, in my opinion, was divine!

All of the wines were fantastic but then again with Helen Turley and Bryan Kvamme behind the winemaking you really can’t go wrong! If you’re ever out that way you really need to pay them a visit!

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18
Apr
11

an 89 for fog crest’s laguna west pinot noir

There’s nothing better, more gratifying than to find a write-up of one’s favourite wine in any respected wine publication. Thus was the case with my beloved 2008 Fog Crest Laguna West Pinot Noir, which received a respectable 89 point score in the latest edition of Wine Spectator!

15
Apr
11

A reflection on a visit to Fog Crest

I have been back in Chicago for almost two weeks now, yet my mind and my soul (and my heart) are still on that warm and sunny hillside in southern Russian River Valley. I’m standing with my family at the head of a row of Chardonnay vines looking out over the valley sprawling before us into the sunny distance. The rows upon rows of vines – just at the point of bud break – roll and undulate in parallel unison with the land. There’s a gentle afternoon breeze whispering softly through the pine trees on the hill behind us that cools the back of my neck. I can smell the warm earth under my feet and the glass of Chardonnay we’re drinking suddenly becomes the perfect summation of where we are. What could be better than the perfect wine at the perfect moment? It is soul soothing and spirit lifting when such a connection is made between the wine lover, the wine and the land where it came from. That, to me any way, is the essence of true terroir – it is a connection, it is a transportation of mind, spirit and soul, and in some cases of body. Everything makes perfect sense. Everything becomes crystal clear and the wine not only tells a story but draws you in and makes you a part of the story to the point where the story becomes yours – yours to continue and to share.

14
Jun
10

just a 2008 Wine Guerrilla in the room

From Saturday night.
2008, Wine Guerrilla, Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, 2008

Blend 86% Zin ( from MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg), 14% Petite Sirah (from Forchini’s Russian River Vineyard )

ABV 16.5%

Retail $19.99 (Whole Foods)

Spicy nose with dark cherry, dried fruits and licorice. Medium-bodied with rich red fruits and finely textured tannins. There is a subtle hint of tartness that’s not too acidic or puckering but along the lines of a juicy plump black cherry or cranberry. Light notes of toasty oak also play a part. This one is brighter in nose and palate than the Dry Creek Valley bottling from the Goat Trek Vineyard, Though this one has hints of dried or stewed fruits it’s the tartness and red ripe fruits that take center stage. However, there is still a supple richness to the mouthfeel to help balance the rest…think creme fresh with fresh raspberries and blueberries. The finish lingers on for some time. There is quite a lot going on here with layer upon layer of flavours and textures, which peel back one after the other to reveal another dimension to the overall picture.

After 24 hours: More concentrated aromas of dark dried fruits emerge on the nose and palate. The acidity and tartness mellows allowing the supple tannins to come forward a bit more and the finish becomes smoother and richer with subtle note of chocolate joining the chorus. Overall this is a pretty complex and nuanced wine for the money developing a nice balance after a good decanting.