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Single take. Double Take. Triple Take! That’s the rubber-necked response to the high-powered, exotic Chardonnay dealt by the Martinelli Family. Unreal expression is found in the glass, as their late-picked Chard showcases a floral, hyper-fruit profile that fills the mouth with an imperious richness and creamy texture. This is like Rombauer on steroids!! From the folks who have supplied the best wineries with fruit for several decades. Time to go straight to the source. This stuff is nuts!
About the wine
As one scans the details, it’s hard not to feel goosebumps rising – Martinelli’s record of top acclaim is absolutely unmatched in Sonoma – and the style they go for is the stuff of dreams. Ripe, robust and abundantly stuffed with late-picked Golden Chardonnay, this has a shining green-silver robe and a bouquet of citrus oil, vanilla bean and peach that positively rockets out of the glass. The wine is so dense and luscious that the Martinellis age in mostly new French oak – an approach reserved for Grand Crus that need the barrel to keep their absurd concentration in check. And that’s Martinelli’s starting point! For those out there who simply adore the unique taste of Sonoma Coast’s special terroir, this will be a step up that will drive that love affair into downright obsessive directions.
Winemaker: Bryan Kvamme & Erin Green
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
- 98 pts: Walter Moore, WSET Diploma, CSW
- 105 x 90+: Wine Spectator
- 267 x 90+: Wine Advocate
- 289 x 90+: Vinous
- 4.2/5: Vivino Users (10 ratings)
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay
Vineyards: Selected top SC estate vineyards
Cooperage: Aged in high-end new French Oak
About the winery
“One of the great families of Northern California, and of course, one of the highest quality producers, the Martinellis – and rather remarkably so – only estate-bottle 15% of their production from over 300 acres of beautifully situated vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. No doubt Helen Turley, who worked at Martinelli and mentored its winemaking team, left a profound influence on the quality of the Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs and Zinfandels, a fact that can’t be overstated.” – Robert Parker.
About the vineyards
From the Martinellis: “Our estate-grown single vineyards are recognized for being uniquely expressive on their own. We have learned that when blended, we can create a wine combining beautiful structure and ripeness. “Bella Vigna” translates in Italian to Beautiful Vines, not only because of their location in the Sonoma Coast but also for the wine they produce. The growing year in 2014 was the third dry year in a row and was full of unforeseen challenges provided by Mother Nature. You would think the ongoing drought, excessive heat from March thru June, and hail in early April would have brought down the quality of this vintage. Thankfully this was not the case! Even though the harvest was very early, the small berry sizes and healthy yields have produced very well balanced wines; they are not over-bearing in tannin or structure, and are a pleasure to drink.”
About the winemakers, Bryan Kvamme & Erin Green
Winemaker Bryan Kvamme’s first started working with Helen Turley at Martinelli Winery in 1997. Through his journey from Cellar Master to Winemaker in 2007, Bryan has learned from Helen the importance of quality vineyard sites and their management, and the excellent fruit they can bring forth. He has also gained an appreciation for her natural approach to winemaking - letting the essence of fully ripened fruit shine through from the vineyard to the wine.
Erin Green’s winemaking career began part-time on Helen Turley’s projects as well as at Sonoma-Cutrer. In the early 1990’s Erin was instrumental in launching Napa Wine Company, a custom crush facility where she was Director of Winemaking. It was here that Erin and Bryan Kvamme worked together for the first time. Erin continued working for Helen Turley on her clients’ wines, including Bryant Family, Martinelli and Pahlmeyer through the end of 1999. For the next 12 years, Erin was the Winemaker and the Director of Winegrowing for Pahlmeyer.
98 points - Walter Moore, WSET Diploma, CSW
"The Martinelli family continues to impress as growers of Sonoma County's finest Chardonnay - and Zinfandel and Pinot Noir too! The absolutely delicious 2014 Bella Vigna Chardonnay shows all of the lusicious concentration of the winery's famed Helen Turley versions, but it seems to do so with a bit more cut and structure. It's creamy and big, but the citrus oil, pear, nougat, and chalk dust almost make it seem like Meursault (without the $200 price tag!) This is pitch perfect California Chardonnay from one of the very best in the business. Exquisite now, it should keep on thrilling palates for 5-8 years with ease. I'll take mine with a roasted chicken and garlic mashed potatoes."