We saw this winery while driving on River Road on our way to Kendall-Jackson Wine Center from Harvest Moon Estate and Winery. Martinelli Winery is the big red wooden house by the road with a big sign so one couldn't miss it. Our wine map also shows it on River Rd. but we kindof ignored it at first because we incorrectly assumed this is the apple cider company. Though this vineyard also grows apples, they are not related to Martinelli's and Company. Once again, the wine gods were with us because we discovered that this winery has good selections of Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrah.
There was only one car parked on their lot and no tourist buses so that's already a plus. I don't mind tourist buses when we are in a big group ourselves. But I usually enjoy the less busy and less touristy wineries. We are there to taste and buy wines, afterall. There is this huge grapevine that formed into a leafy canopy by the tasting room's entrance. The grapevine's trunk must have been at least 32 inches in circumference and this gave me an idea how long this winery has been around. The tasting room is nicely lit and roomy. The tasting bar is in the middle. On the right is a small museum with an old wooden press and pictures of the Martinelli growers and winemakers from several generations since 1896. A sense of history is something something that I like about older wineries. There is a small gift shop on the left side of the tasting room.
[to read my other Wine Tasting blogs, click here ]
We knew that their Pinots and Chards were going to be excellent just because they are in the Russian River Valley. The Russian River Valley is known to produce very good Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays because of its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean which gives the region a cooler climate at night. I have been told that the cooler climate allows the fruits to ripen slowly which gives the fruits a more concentrated flavor and a good balance of fruit sugar and ripe acidity. Anyway, their Syrahs were also standouts because all of them are outstanding. They also have a good selection of Zinfandel. This must be because of microclimate around the area? We tasted the following wines: 2007 Martinelli Road Chardonnay, 2007 Three Sisters Vineyard Chardonnay, 2008 Zio Tony Ranch Pinot Noir, 2009 Bondi Home Ranch Pinot noir, 2010 Bella Vigna Pinot Noir, 2008 Terra Felice Syrah, 2006 Lolita Ranch Syrah, 2008 Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel, and 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
Unfortunately, their wines are on the expensive side and my budget turned out to be only good enough for two bottles. It was hard to take notes during the tasting but it was easy to make the selection since this is a side by side tasting. The bottles that we took were 2009 Bondi Home Ranch Pinot noir and 2008 Terra Felice Syrah.
I am glad we stopped by this winery. Rick and the rest of the pourers that day who I forgot the names were very friendly and attentive.