Friday, April 23, 2010

2007 Martinelli Pinot Noir, Blue Slide Ridge Vineyard

This wine would be in the final running for picking my desert island wine. I think all of Martinelli's pinots are delicious, but in my book this one tops them all. The grapes come from one of this producer's "true" Sonoma Coast vineyards, located two or three ridge lines in from the Pacific Ocean near the old coastal town of Fort Ross. This vineyard, just above the marine/fog layer, thrives on a diet of warm, sunny days and very cold nights. This last fall, Julianna Martinelli took my wife and I out into these mountains (SUV country indeed) to let me have a look at this magical area.
This unique terroir results in a wine that takes California pinot to new levels of excellence. It is lush but not ponderous, ripe but not thick, deep but not dumb. The intense aromas combine sweet, ripe cherries with an engaging wet earth note. The complex flavors are all about low yields of ripe fruit with careful use of oak in the cellar.
It will be interesting to see how this relatively new viticultural area develops and it certainly deserves its own separate AVA. To throw these special vineyards into the ludicrously immense "Sonoma Coast" AVA is a prime example of why the AVA system needs serious overhaul.
This particular wine is closely allocated by the winery and the cost is $95. There are very few wines for which I would pay $95 but this is one of them. Both Parker and Tanzer gave this wine 94 points.

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