Newsletter May 2016

A Deeper Look at the Martinelli Family

On April 16th, we hosted our second Patz & Hall Grower Series event with a fascinating 90-minute tasting hosted by renowned winegrower George Martinelli. The Martinelli family are rightfully legendary. Five generations of Martinellis have grown grapes in California. In fact, their storied viticultural history goes back to 1887, when winemaker Giuseppe Martinelli left his village in the Tuscany region of Italy to start a new life as a winegrower in the United States. Since then, the Martinelli family has earned respect and acclaim for their expertise growing some of the finest grapes in the Russian River Valley, and more recently on the Sonoma Coast.  

Today, the family’s vineyards are managed by viticulturists George and Lee Martinelli, who continue building on the family’s legacy of excellence. Here at Patz & Hall, we have been making a single-vineyard Chardonnay from the Martinelli’s Zio Tony Ranch since 2003, and a Pinot Noir from Burnside Vineyard since 2002. Like many of the greatest California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Vineyards, Zio Tony and Burnside were both originally apple orchards, before the Martinellis replanted their perfect Goldridge soils to winegrapes.  

Named after the family’s beloved Uncle Tony, Zio Tony enjoys a classic Russian River Valley climate, yielding a Chardonnay with a lush mouthfeel, high acidity and delicious flavors of honey, peach and apricot. Located in the Sonoma Coast appellation, Burnside Vineyard has a hillside orientation that bends to the east for ideal early morning sun exposure. At the same time, thanks to its proximity to the Petaluma Gap, it is also a cooler site that yields small clusters and a dark, plush expression of Pinot Noir. As you would expect, both vineyards are meticulously farmed. But more than that, the Martinellis understand that they are growing wine, not just grapes, and that is something that shows in the bottle!