Domestic Selection: Old Vine Red Lot #9, NV. Marietta

We knew there was something special about this wine the first time we tasted it. It seemed to want to be our friend. We have watched it for many years and have continually been impressed. There was something very warm and loving about this wine. Now we know why.

Marietta Cellars was founded in 1979 by Chris and Margaret Bilbro. It is named after Chris’s great aunt Marietta Padrini, a hard working woman who took great pleasure in cooking, gardening and the outdoors. Material ex­ploits were of little interest to her. You see, Marietta had immigrated to Sonoma from a small town in the foothills above Lucca in the province of Tuscany, Italy (Chian­ti country). Lying between Flor­ence and Pisa, the country side in Lucca is much like Northern Son­oma County and in fact, Sonoma has many “Tuscani” residents. She passed away when Chris was young but his memory of her is fresh. The dedication to her name­sake and work ethic is evident in his winemaking.

Marietta Wine Cellars produc­es only red wines; Cabernet Sau­vignon, Zinfandel and Old Vine Red. Only Sonoma County grapes are used and they are purchased from vineyards in Geyserville, the Alexander, Russian River, and Dry Creek Valleys and Forestville. Old Vine Red is made from grapes of vines that are a minimum of 60 years old. Chris prefers the older vines because of their ability to produce full, con­centrated grapes.

This selection, Lot Number 9, is a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 15% Petit Sirah, 10% Carignane, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Gamay. All of which, except Gamay, are big, rich, full bodied wine grapes that are responsible for some of the best reds in California. Not to mention Gamay being equally as capable of producing exciting wine but a tad on the lighter side. Old Vine Red has striking resem­blance to wines of the Tuscany re­gion in Italy. Coincidence? We do not think so.

Our selection shows a color of rich purple at the edge suggesting its young age with an intense pur­ple in the middle attributed to the age of the vines. The nose is full of raspberries and cherry with a hint of spice. The taste follows with an explosion of berry. The finish is not too dry, with linger­ing fruit and hints of pepper.

Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled with red sauce Ital­ian dishes or beef.

Cellaring Notes: Drinking nicely now, may develop 1-2 years.

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