lulu, hillsider companion

lulu, hillsider companion

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Remarkable wine from Martinelli, a pretty sauvignon blanc from Roth, a very good Shasta County olive oil, and a note to our Ukraine reader(s)

Rarely do we spend much time talking about wines that don't fit our "working man" parameters, one of the most important being a price ceiling in the $25 range, give or take a buck or two to account for market variations. We're making an exception to that rule today, however, because we have been taken completely off guard by a wine we had the pleasure of enjoying during the past week, a striking zin from Sonoma's Martinelli family winery which absolutely falls beyond the borders,.but we're looking at a really pretty sauvignon blanc from Alexander Valley's Roth Vineyards that lies well inside the fence, as well. First, though, I have to say that I come into this review more than a little guilty of prejudice: as many who read this or know me are aware, I love Martinelli's wines. I can't remember ever having been disappointed or unhappy with anything from them. As for Roth, this is an early encounter for me, and if this wine is representative of what they do then you'll hear more in the future.
First, the zin: Martinelli's 2012 edition of their Vellutini Ranch wine which, at least to my mind, is the one zin they produce that can show striking stylistic variations from vintage to vintage. Always very good, but sometimes very different from what you believe to be the norm. At any rate, the 2012 is a knockout at this particular point in time, being deeply-colored with a lush bouquet of ripe blackberries and violets after about an hour's air, but opening faster if decanted. On the palate it's slick fruit, expansive and ripe, finishing fairly quickly but with blueberries and a little wood. It probably won't improve much beyond the next year or so, but drinks beautifully now and is a great addition to any white cloth wine list, especially one that features venison or boar (Colorado folks, pay attention). The more you think about it, the better it gets, and I hope to buy some more before it's all gone.

Next up Roth's 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, which may or may not be the current vintage in release, but is likely representative of what the winery is producing from the grape. We were very impressed, especially at the price, which was a more than reasonable $13 at my local corner specialty market, which is not noted for giving anything away. The wine is crisp and fresh in the nose, with some grapefruit, and shows a good deal of the same just-bottled crisply varietal grassiness on the palate, finishing with a distinct peachy note. All-in-all, for the price, excellent. For you wine-listers, this would be an excellent cocktail or aperitif wine, and the price is right.

We want to take this opportunity, too, to give you all a heads-up regarding a local olive oil producer we've been watching for the last year or so. We were so impressed with the oils when we first discovered them that we weren't sure that the consistency would be there, given that our initial conversation with the owner had us convinced that controls might not be absolute, and that quality might vary from batch to batch. We still don't know whether control is total, but after almost two years of demonstrated consistency of production quality, we're ready to give whole-hearted recommendation to the oils of our neighboring Happy Valley Olive Oil Company. The oils are delicious; clean, peppery, fat, and lush on the palate, and wonderful accompaniments to rustic breads and cheeses. I will learn more and get back to you shortly regarding varietals, locations of the groves, etc. For now, I simply say that they are very good, and you should make an effort to find them, particularly if you're a Norcal reader. Happy Valley is a small rural community just south of Redding, and is one of those little Norcal villages that locals get a funny look on their faces when you ask them what they know about it, but whatever else they're up to out there, these are very good table oils and deserve to be known.They can be reached at 530-246-4104; I don't think there's a website yet, although I was told one was being developed several months back.

Finally, I want to acknowledge that we are aware that we have at least one, and maybe several, readers in Ukraine. We want you to know that we try to understand how difficult your lives must be at present, and we wish you the best of luck and hope that you and yours will remain safe and sound throughout this very difficult time. We would like to hear from you from time to time, if possible, so that we know you're safe and well.

I'm out for now.

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