Martinelli fans?

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Matthew Harrington
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Martinelli fans?

#1 Post by Matthew Harrington » October 16th, 2015, 1:07 pm

Our small group from the east will be pinballing around Sonoma late next week and into the wknd and have a few hours Friday afternoon for a stop or two. Anyway, I keep coming back to Martinelli as a possibility for some reason - never tried a bottle, never had a passionate recommendation, yet associate the name with quality. Can't shake the sense that I should dig deeper, but time is a little tight so would love to get some first-hand impressions. Are there any big fans out there? Does their entire lineup shine or do they work best with a specific varietal?

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John M Richards
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#2 Post by John M Richards » October 16th, 2015, 1:18 pm

Some of their higher end wines are interesting, but the tasting room on River Road doesn't pour them. We went once, but don't see a need to return. If you are near old town Sonoma, the Ravenswood tasting is a better experience. There are also a number of smaller makers of old vine Zin and heritage wines, but not that many have tasting rooms.

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#3 Post by Jim Hanlon » October 16th, 2015, 1:20 pm

Joseph Swan, Porter Creek, Rochioli, and many others are in the same neighborhood and better options, even accounting for palate diversity.

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#4 Post by John Morris » October 16th, 2015, 1:34 pm

Matthew Harrington wrote:Our small group from the east will be pinballing around Sonoma late next week and into the wknd and have a few hours Friday afternoon for a stop or two. Anyway, I keep coming back to Martinelli as a possibility for some reason - never tried a bottle, never had a passionate recommendation, yet associate the name with quality. Can't shake the sense that I should dig deeper, but time is a little tight so would love to get some first-hand impressions. Are there any big fans out there? Does their entire lineup shine or do they work best with a specific varietal?
Do you like very big wines? That's the threshold question, I think, because they're over at one end of the style scale.
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#5 Post by Alan Rath » October 16th, 2015, 1:42 pm

Almost every Martinelli wine is a riper, high octane style. If you like that, it's a nice, easy visit, right off of River Road. I am not a fan of the wines, and would recommend a different stop. If you do have a few hours, and want a nice tasting in a great environment, I would recommend Copain. They are charging for tastings now, and it needs an appointment, but you can do it on the web, and it's well worth it.
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#6 Post by Bob Hughes » October 16th, 2015, 1:45 pm

Yeah, think 16%+ alcohol in a Pinot and you can "feel the burn" big ;)

To my palate, this winery is the poster child for ripeness, extraction and alcohol gone wild, but the wines aren't cheap, so if "go big or go home" is your preferred style of drinking, you may find that these wines are in your wheelhouse.

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#7 Post by HiltonDG » October 16th, 2015, 2:27 pm

I have to be in the right mood to drink a Martinelli wine. They are full throttle in your face wines. Lush, ripe and intoxicating.

The tasting room is an easy stop and a typical tasting room experience. It might be a good stop if you're curious about the style but don't have much time. You can get in and out of there within a half an hour easy.
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#8 Post by Chris Seiber » October 16th, 2015, 2:37 pm

They are generally big, ripe and lush, though I think some of their different pinot bottlings are relatively more or less so. They will certainly have their fans, though not as many here on WB, and those that are probably keep it to themselves.

I would say this, though - if you've always been curious about them, and you're going to be there anyway, you might as well pop in for short visit. Sometimes, it's worthwhile just to have the experience of different notable producers, the frame of reference, and the experience of trying something for yourself. I visited once, and it was a perfectly pleasant walk-in tasting experience.

That's at least assuming you don't already know from the general description that you'll hate the wines, in which case there's no need to torment yourself.

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#9 Post by Bob Hughes » October 16th, 2015, 2:46 pm

As a comparative, if you like Helen Turley-styled wines like Marcassin, then you might also like Martinelli.

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#10 Post by Drew Goin » October 16th, 2015, 2:48 pm

I am going to put myself out there and say that I have enjoyed several Martinelli Zinfandels, namely Jackass Vineyard, G&L, and Vigneto do Evo. I realize that I am in the minority, but I find pleasure all over the wine flavor spectrum.

The Jackass Hill Vineyard is pretty cool to consider as well. I have only seen pictures and videos of it, and it's a marvel in California.

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#11 Post by Matthew Harrington » October 16th, 2015, 2:53 pm

Thanks for replies and straightforward opinions so far. I don't necessarily have a style preference. I'll chew up a Herman Story syrah like it's the last drink on earth yet would drink spinach juice if it had a Mathiasson label on it.

I suppose it's more about the quality of balance for me which is sort of just the quality of quality - regardless of style, you know it when you taste it and the more good wine you drink the less easily you're fooled.

So, not necessarily repelled or attracted by the size of the wine. Since I'm travelling with friends who have never been in the area and are somewhat less invested it may actually be worthwhile to check out some accessible, entry-level wines in a casual room. Just kidding!

But I may pop in. Copain suggestion is right on, but I'm fairly familiar with the wines and it's closer in style to some visits we've already scheduled. Swan is a good call, I've considered that before and may finally just do it. RAvenswood also, but we won't be in that neighborhood too long.

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#12 Post by Nick Ryan » October 16th, 2015, 3:03 pm

They make some of the better Pinots in the high-ripeness style. The Moonshine Ranch is a favorite. They don't age.
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#13 Post by Chris Seiber » October 16th, 2015, 3:09 pm

I did like Moonshine Ranch, though it was a long time ago. I liked the Martinelli Vineyard pinot as well.

When I visited, I bought one bottle of Blue Slide Ridge pinot (2007, I think). It wasn't available to taste, but I figured it was worth trying a bottle of it for the experience. 15.1% alcohol.

It was one of those wines that was fairly enjoyable in a decadent way for a little while, but as my wife and I got farther into the bottle and the bottle warmed up (we took it to dinner at Roy's), it got kind of tiresome. We left the last glass or two behind. But I think BSR and a very ripe vintage like 2007 was probably the most extreme their pinots get - other bottlings from other vintages are probably less extreme.

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#14 Post by Alan Rath » October 16th, 2015, 3:13 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:if you've always been curious about them, and you're going to be there anyway, you might as well pop in for short visit.
This is good advice. It is literally right on River Road (to the point where you may fly past it doing the 50mph speed limit). You can be in and out of there in 10 minutes if you want to. It's unlikely they will have any of the more "prestige" bottles open for tasting, however (I use the word "prestige" to reflect the more famous, higher scoring wines).
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#15 Post by gene keenan » October 16th, 2015, 3:31 pm

I like them. Not something I want to drink every day but I find them very tasty on occasion.
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#16 Post by Karen Troisi » October 16th, 2015, 3:42 pm

Like others have said Martinelli = high octane wines (at least the zins are). I like their Zio Tony Ranch and Blue Slide Ridge pinots but have not had time to taste current releases. If you can fit a visit in, suggest going to Patz & Hall (in Sonoma) - not a bad wine in the line-up they are pouring.
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#17 Post by Craig G » October 16th, 2015, 3:51 pm

Just stop at a gas station and fill a bottle from the pump. It will give you a good sense of the style and save some money.
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#18 Post by Richard T r i m p i » October 16th, 2015, 4:39 pm

Craig G wrote:Just stop at a gas station and fill a bottle from the pump. It will give you a good sense of the style and save some money.
Ouch! I haven't tried any made during this decade so I'm loathe to comment. Yes, they were over the top (sometimes mindbogglingly), but times change and I'd be curious enough to taste a couple.

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#19 Post by Bob Hughes » October 16th, 2015, 4:50 pm

I'll keep that in mind, Rich - maybe I'll slip a bottle into the line-up the next time we check up on the latest vintage of Shafer Relentless [stirthepothal.gif] .

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#20 Post by gene keenan » October 16th, 2015, 4:59 pm

Craig G wrote:Just stop at a gas station and fill a bottle from the pump. It will give you a good sense of the style and save some money.
Except one will kill you and the other will just give you a headache the next day.
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#21 Post by Matthew Harrington » October 16th, 2015, 5:01 pm

Bob Hughes wrote:I'll keep that in mind, Rich - maybe I'll slip a bottle into the line-up the next time we check up on the latest vintage of Shafer Relentless [stirthepothal.gif] .
Comparing the Martinelli Syrah to Relentless? I'm intrigued...

But you know, I will probably stop in and see. Thanks for Patz&Hall rec, Karen. I know of them, but have never had a bottle. If we have lunch in Sonoma we'll stop by.

Anyone digging Hanzell these days? We're tasting at Talisman in Glen Ellen and am starting to think we should just taste down there through the afternoon.

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#22 Post by Brian Tuite » October 16th, 2015, 5:06 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
Chris Seiber wrote:if you've always been curious about them, and you're going to be there anyway, you might as well pop in for short visit.
This is good advice. It is literally right on River Road (to the point where you may fly past it doing the 55mph speed limit). You can be in and out of there in 10 minutes if you want to. It's unlikely they will have any of the more "prestige" bottles open for tasting, however (I use the word "prestige" to reflect the more famous, higher scoring wines).
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#23 Post by Craig G » October 16th, 2015, 5:08 pm

gene keenan wrote:
Craig G wrote:Just stop at a gas station and fill a bottle from the pump. It will give you a good sense of the style and save some money.
Except one will kill you and the other will just give you a headache the next day.
If you say so... but I think gasoline might give you more than a headache too.
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#24 Post by Bob Hughes » October 16th, 2015, 5:10 pm

Matthew, I would actually compare the Martinelli Blue Slide Ridge Pinot to Shafer Relentless pileon .

But the best advice I can give you when it comes to Martinelli is to ignore anything I post on the subject - I consider both Martinelli and Shafer to be DNPIM wines, so my input here should largely be viewed from the context of humor & sarcasm. I didn't want you to think I was actually making an "informed" comparison between Martinelli and Shafer.

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#25 Post by Richard T r i m p i » October 16th, 2015, 5:18 pm

Bob Hughes wrote:I'll keep that in mind, Rich - maybe I'll slip a bottle into the line-up the next time we check up on the latest vintage of Shafer Relentless .
Yeah, yeah. Sometimes it's a good thing that "tasting" doesn't require drinking or swallowing. [cheers.gif]

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#26 Post by gene keenan » October 16th, 2015, 6:53 pm

Craig G wrote:
gene keenan wrote:
Craig G wrote:Just stop at a gas station and fill a bottle from the pump. It will give you a good sense of the style and save some money.
Except one will kill you and the other will just give you a headache the next day.
If you say so... but I think gasoline might give you more than a headache too.
Touche [cheers.gif]
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#27 Post by Joseph MR » October 16th, 2015, 7:04 pm

Some years ago, drinking a Martinelli Pinot Noir was what set me on a more AFWE path in my wine enjoyment journey.
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#28 Post by Sean Malloy » October 16th, 2015, 7:24 pm

I have a love/hate relationship with them. All is very high test. I hate the pinots....I just don't want that in my pinot. They always seem hot and over the top. I love the zins. The do high test zin in a way that I find enjoyable and not unbalanced. 17% but not hot at times...weird but true for me. Chards and syrah....sort of in between, nothing to write home about. I'm a regular buyer, but only of the zins.

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#29 Post by NoahR » October 16th, 2015, 8:02 pm

Don't need to beat the dead horse on Martinelli style. If you're in the town of Sonoma, a nice tasting can be had at Sojourn, which splits the difference between Copan and Martinelli and also makes some lovely cabs in addition to the pinots. Williams-Selyem has a beautiful winery and tasting room and is a nice stop.
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#30 Post by Matthew Harrington » October 17th, 2015, 6:55 am

NoahR wrote:Don't need to beat the dead horse on Martinelli style. If you're in the town of Sonoma, a nice tasting can be had at Sojourn, which splits the difference between Copan and Martinelli and also makes some lovely cabs in addition to the pinots. Williams-Selyem has a beautiful winery and tasting room and is a nice stop.
Either of those could work. Williams-Selyem would be an experience...

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#31 Post by Matthew Harrington » October 17th, 2015, 7:04 am

Sean Malloy wrote:I have a love/hate relationship with them. All is very high test. I hate the pinots....I just don't want that in my pinot. They always seem hot and over the top. I love the zins. The do high test zin in a way that I find enjoyable and not unbalanced. 17% but not hot at times...weird but true for me. Chards and syrah....sort of in between, nothing to write home about. I'm a regular buyer, but only of the zins.
Loud and clear. I also find that overbearing Pinots can be somewhat charmless and that weighty zins can hit the mark (Turley, Carlisle).

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#32 Post by Paul H Galli » October 17th, 2015, 8:24 am

Their Zins have a mighty handy secondary use.
Simply pour some into your gas tank as a fuel additive.....

Some of the worst drek I've ever tasted [barf1.gif]

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#33 Post by Matthew Harrington » October 17th, 2015, 11:46 am

Paul H Galli wrote:Their Zins have a mighty handy secondary use.
Simply pour some into your gas tank as a fuel additive.....

Some of the worst drek I've ever tasted [barf1.gif]

TTT

I did not anticipate the barf gif coming out when I began the thread but there it is. Between that and Martinelli's pinot being compared to Shafer Relentless - well, I'm getting the memo.

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#34 Post by P_WythesJr » October 17th, 2015, 12:12 pm

Adding my two cents... I was on their list, but dropped after a few tasting room visits. When I would stop by, the first thing they did was check their computer for my "standing" on their mailing list. It felt like the level of service I received was directly proportional to my level of spending (or lack thereof). This was years ago, so things may have changed.

If you're in the neighborhood, check out Russian River Vineyards, Hop Kiln, Porter Creek or Rochioli. Russian River makes great pinots (IMO) without any of the attitude.

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#35 Post by ncostanzo1 » October 19th, 2015, 10:46 am

I visited maybe back in early June or July, I can't exactly remember. I ran into someone I used to work with, she was new at the TR but ran us through quite a few wines and everyone there seems pretty friendly. I can't say I like the Chards or Syrah much, I did enjoy a couple Zins (bought some off list, picked up that day I think they'll need time in bottle and a good few hours opened before consumption) and some of the Pinot's. I wanted to take a flyer on the BSR Pinot but at the price was a little hesitant (it was not available to taste) after what I've read on here vs what I usually enjoy drinking. Like others if you have the time, want to duck in for 20-30 minutes try a couple (they have different flights you can taste/share) and be on your way. Have fun!
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#36 Post by Chris Seiber » October 19th, 2015, 11:01 am

Matthew Harrington wrote: I did not anticipate the barf gif coming out when I began the thread but there it is. Between that and Martinelli's pinot being compared to Shafer Relentless - well, I'm getting the memo.
Hopefully, the memo explains that this is the zeitgeist on Wine Berserkers, not that you shouldn't have an open mind and try it for yourself, if you want to.

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#37 Post by Henry Kiichli » October 19th, 2015, 11:49 am

Absolutely!

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#38 Post by Joe Webb » October 19th, 2015, 12:24 pm

Matthew Harrington wrote: Anyone digging Hanzell these days? We're tasting at Talisman in Glen Ellen and am starting to think we should just taste down there through the afternoon.
Definitely worth the visit if you have not been great site and the oldest PN vineyard in CA. Great hospitality experience and stemware used as well. Wines have gotten to big for me over the several years. I have many vintages in the cellar due to a close friend who worked there making sure I knew when library releases were coming up. They stopped posting tech sheets on the website but I recall the '06/'07 CH and PN being closer to 15% than 14% with much softer acids. Not sure if Jason had moved the style back to its roots of very age-able lower alcohol higher acid wines.

There are a lot of good spots in the RRV area near Martinelli though my recommendations are not in the full throttle style, Joseph Swan (worked there a few vintages so not impartial), Inman, Woodenhead. Lots of TR's in one place at the Barlow as well. If you have limited time to get a few in.
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