We recently released these three single vineyard wines for our wine club and selected restaurant/retail placements nationally. What are they? Where are they? Here we go…
In 2018 we added three new single vineyard Pinot Noir wines for MARITANA VINEYARDS. These are all within the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Each is quite different from the others and each shows its own sense of place in aroma and flavor. They are all lovely but no doubt you will have a favorite.
JENKINS RANCH – Russian River Valley
We know Jenkins Ranch from the “olden days”. In early 2018 I got a call from the vineyard manager extraordinaire Charlie Chenoweth telling me that there was a small portion of the vineyard coming out of contract and not being renewed. Would I be interested in getting some grapes from Jenkins Ranch? Of course! Our little portion is planted entirely to Dijon Clone 115 – largely considered the most flexible and adaptive of the different “Dijon Clone” Pinot Noir vines. Charlie is a top vineyard manager and the grapes are in immaculate condition. Clone 115 is a moderate crop clone that produces a very high quality wine. In fact, in 2018
2018 is notable for being both a high quality and fairly high yields all over Sonoma. We got an extra taste of Jenkins Ranch in 2018 – we are so happy for it! The resulting wine from 2018 has become a beauty. It is the more integrated while carrying plenty of power for aging (if you can wait).
MARTAELLA VINEYARD – Russian River Valley
This is the immaculate home ranch for Benovia Winery. The winemaker, Mike Sullivan, had a great idea when he planted this site. Why plant clones that everyone else has? – let’s get rare clones that nobody else has! I worked closely with Mike and the vineyard team at Martaella Vineyard to get an interesting selection of grapes for 2018. FOUR different clones came in for Maritana Vineyards – Dijon Clone 943, UCD 90, UCD 04 “Pommard” and UCD 13 “Martini”. The four each made distinctive wines and were all lovely wines but the Clone 943 was something really special. We choose those few barrels to create the first MARITANA/MARTAELLA wine. The other selections all became a part of the 2018 “Le Russe” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (multi-vineyard cuvée).
The 2018 Martaella Vineyard is superb with all the pieces in place for longevity in wine – great concentration, nice tannins, underpinning of acidity – best of all just a great aroma. This is what dreams of Pinot Noir are made of in my opinion. So exotic. So haunting and complex – the wine reveals layers of aromas that never existed before, or since.
MOONSHINE RANCH – Russian River Valley
Fans of Martinelli Winery will recognize this name. Yes it is the same site as their own wine from Moonshine but comes from a portion that they call “Square Block” and is different clones – Dijon 828 and UCD 04 “Pommard”. To be clear – the Martinelli’s are just fantastic farmers and every site they work with produces grapes of quality. Getting to use grapes from this well established Pinot Noir vineyard has been a lot of fun. The Moonshine Ranch 2018 Pinot Noir produced to most elegant and perfumed of the 3 single vineyard wines. It is more delicate but not low-powered – instead it’s pretty, bright ruby color signals a classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – the ones before people started making them into Syrah-wannabe wines. Its complex and lively on the palate with a creamy texture that belies its structure. Drink now – I think it is best younger and fresher – but I’ve seen these kinds of wines do interesting things when aged properly, too.