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Pinot Noir Wine Club

Pinot Club - February

This month we present three iconic wines from two iconic producers:  Kosta Browne Gap's Crown Pinot Noir, Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, and Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir. 

Your allocation is for one bottle from among the three offered.  Due to very limited allocations, you might not get your first, or even second choice. 

Kosta Browne "Gap's Crown" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2009  Winemaker's Notes:  The Gap’s Crown Vineyard is owned and managed by Premier Pacific Vineyards and is located in the Petaluma Wind Gap. In 2005 we learned of this new vineyard in Sonoma County and upon visiting it near Penngrove, we were very impressed with the PPV team’s dedication to the property and in growing exceptional fruit. The vineyard is planted to 100 acres of Pinot Noir and is divided into 30 different and distinct blocks. The viticulture is second to none, producing some of the finest grapes in Sonoma County. While the majority of the grapes sourced from this vineyard since 2006 have been the backbone of our Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, the consistent quality of the fruit received from this vineyard has necessitated a single vineyard designation since 2008.

Aromatics:Lilac, lavender, dark cherry and lean blackberry fill the glass. Vibrant undertones of black truffle and dark chocolate.

Read more: Pinot Club - February

Pinot Club - November

We're please to present for the first time a selection of Pinot Noirs from Evening Lands - a winery dedicated to producing pristine cool climate Pinots and Chards from California and Oregon. 

This month your allocation is for one bottle of either:

  • Evening Land Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
  • Evening Land Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir Tempest Bloom's Field
  • Evening Land Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Doc's Ranch
  • Evening Land Sonoma Coast  Pinot Noir Occidental

Read more: Pinot Club - November

Pinot Club - September

This month, we return to the Willamette Valley in Oregon to try the 2008 Iota Pinot Noir, Pelos Sandberg Vineyard, a LIVE-certified, Eola-Amity Hills AVA single vineyard Pinot that was rated "outstanding" by Burghound.

Iota is a relatively new winery (this is only their third vintage), and is partly owned by Montclair residents.  Prior to releasing their own wines, they had been supplying fruit to top quality Willamette producers like Bergstrom and Beaux Frères.

Family run from source to bottle using only estate-grown grapes and sustainable farming practices, Iota is hand-crafted with minimal intervention in the winemaking process for a total production of less than 350 cases.

Read more: Pinot Club - September

Pinot Club - October


This month, we're proud to present another iconic California Pinot Noir - Martinelli Pinot Noir Zio Tony Ranch, Russian River Valley, 2009.    Only 14 cases were made available to retail accounts in the state, and we were able to grab four!

Your allocation is for one bottle.

The wine just received 95+ points from the Wine Spectator:  Very ripe and fleshy, with dark berry, plum and wild berry fruit that has a floral spicy edge. Full-bodied, ending with a  sleek, layered aftertaste where the flavors unfold gracefully and persistently. Drink now through
2018. 522 cases made.

The Martinelli family has been growing grapes in the Russian River Valley since 1887. At the ages of 19 and 16, Giuseppe Martinelli and Luisa Vellutini eloped from their small village in the Toscany region of Italy, making their way to California looking for land to farm and start a winery. Giuseppe had been a winemaker in Italy and with his viticultural knowledge he was hired to plant a vineyard for a farmer in Forestville. Within two years he earned enough money, and borrowed some from a local wood cutter, to purchase some land. Working side by side on a 60 degree slope, Giuseppe and Luisa planted a small area of Zinfandel and Muscat Alexandria vines, which later became known as the Jackass Hill vineyard. Over 100 years later, this south easterly exposure remains the steepest non-terraced vineyard in Sonoma County.

In 1918 Giuseppe died, leaving Luisa with four children and the farm to care for. Their youngest son, Leno was twelve years old at the time and had wanted no other career in life than to be a farmer. Leno’s two older brothers wanted nothing to do with the impossibly steep hillside so after completing the eighth grade, Leno finished school and took on the sole responsibility of farming the Zinfandel vineyard. His family told him that only a jackass would farm a hill that steep. Hence, he and his vineyard earned the name Jackass. Leno received all of his farming knowledge from his parents and through his own lifelong experience of tending the vines the way his father had. He even continued using a horse and plow until 1949. At the age of 89, Leno decided to hang up the keys to his John Deere, and handed the vineyard over to his son, Lee Sr. Following the family tradition, Lee was introduced to vineyard work at the age of seven, performing all seasonal tasks necessary and learning the old viticultural practices handed down through the generations.

In 1973 Lee Sr. took over management of his Uncle Tony Bondi’s estate, which was comprised mainly of apple orchards, and began planting vineyards in the rich soil of the Russian River Valley. Soon considered a premium grape grower, Lee’s fruit was in great demand from many wineries. Realizing the exceptional potential to create superb wines from these grapes, Lee and his wife, Carolyn, decided to start their own winery. Two old historic hop barns that grace the property have been converted into the wine making facility and tasting room, keeping with the original feel and structure of the centurion buildings.

Twenty years later in 1993, Lee and Carolyn met and befriended Helen Turley on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere. They discovered that they were vineyard neighbors; Helen’s Marcassin vineyard rests on the same ridge as the Martinelli’s Charles Ranch vineyard along the Sonoma Coast. Soon they began working with Helen professionally, and she introduced new viticultural and cellar practices to the Martinelli family. The winery’s new vineyards are all planted with the professional consultation and specifications of John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley. Lee Sr. and his two sons, Lee Jr. and George, do all of the farming, keeping the business traditionally family owned and operated. Helen Turley is the consulting winemaker and Bryan Kvamme is winemaker.

According to Lee Martinelli, Sr. : "The "Zio Tony Ranch" is named after my father’s uncle whom was the first in the Bondi family to be born on American soil. Zio Tony was the son of Paolo Antoni Bondi and Adele Gemma Cardellini, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800's, and immediately set up farming potatoes. In one year they saved enough money raising potatoes to purchase the apple ranch on which Tony was born and where he and his sister, Alma, were raised. Zio Tony, Zio meaning 'uncle' in Italian and pronounced 'tseo', was a very charismatic man with a big booming voice whom loved a good time. His big handsome smile is still legendary in the old farming community of western Sonoma County. He was the entrepreneur of the family and began buying individual properties and planting apple trees, eventually establishing the largest apple orchard in the county. When Tony passed away in 1969 his nephew, Lee Martinelli, Sr., inherited the estate. The love of his family's heritage land was too great for my father to sell the property and in one short season Lee went from High School teacher to Apple Farmer.

The market for apples in Sonoma County eventually grew unbearably soft and the Zio Tony Ranch has gradually made the transformation from apples to grapes. Keeping with our family heritage we have preserved a large grove of the old thick-trunked Gravenstein apple trees. Bursting with flavor, the Grav’s are the best in the world for baking and eating. Surrounding this acreage of ancient fruit bearing trees Lee Sr., has planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which are varietals that glorify in this particular climate’s warm/cool temperatures. The vines are planted on rolling hills, are densely spaced at 2,000 per acre with clones '115', 'Quail Hill', '548', and '95', and rootstocks, '420', '101-14' and '3309'. This small vineyard is trained on a vertical trellis system with the fruit hanging just 24 inches above the ground. The grapes are thinned down to only 3 pounds of fruit per vine. These practices all insure mature fruit flavors in the wine as well as even ripening.

The grapes are picked between 25 and 26 degrees brix to ensure mature ripe fruit flavors. They are hand selected at harvest time by Lee Martinelli, Sr. and Helen Turley who taste the grapes and choose when to pick according to the developed concentration of flavors in the berries. After picking, the whole berries undergo a long cool fermentation to generate skin contact and expose fruit character and are fermented with wild yeast. The juice is gravity fed into small oak barrels with a touch of residual sugar remaining to complete the fermentation process in barrel until dry. It rests in 75% new French oak on its gross lees for one year. Being a particular and moody varietal to tamper with, the grapes, juice, and then wine are minimally handled. This wine is neither heat nor cold stabilized and is unfined and unfiltered."

Read more: Pinot Club - October

Pinot Noir Club - 8th Allocation

This month we present wines from D’Alfonso–Curran Wines.  Who?  What?

D'Alfonso-Curran is a newish brand for two very successful and celebrated wine makers – Bruno D’Alfonso and Kris Curran.   Bruno was the winemaker for many years at Sanford, has his own label called Badge; while Kris was the founding winemaker at Sea Smoke.   Between the two of them - they define the famed Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and have over 50 years winemaking experience. 

The two together bring decades of knowledge, artistry, experience and accolades to their personal labels – Curran, DiBruno and BADGE. 

This month's allocation is for your choice of the following single vineyard selections: d'Alfonso-Curran Pinot Noir Sanford Benedict, d'Alfonso-Curran Pinot Noir, d'Alfonso-Curran Pinot Noir Rancho Los Hermanos, or d'Alfonso-Curran Pinot Noir Rancho La Viña.   Each wine reflects a slightly different terroir in the district, with the Sanford coming from flatlands, and the Hermanos and Viña from hillside slopes. 

Read more: Pinot Noir Club - 8th Allocation

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