The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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62 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2014/2015 { cellar view } GIUSEPPE AND LUISA MARTINELLI ELOPED FROM THEIR NORTHERN ITALIAN VILLAGE near the end of the 19th century and came to Northern California. Now, 130 years later, the fourth generation of Martinellis are successfully producing estate-grown wines on the same property. One of the vineyards on the ranch, an acre plot of Zinfandel planted in the early 1890s, occupies a 60-degree slope making it the steepest non-terraced vineyard in Sonoma County. When Giuseppe died in 1918 his youngest son, 12-year-old Leno, took over farming duties on the property, continuing until he was 87 years old. The family always said that "Only a jackass would farm a vineyard that steep," and hence the vineyard got the name "Jackass Hill." Jackass Vineyard, which surrounds the west side of the Jackass Hill, was planted in the 1880s. Today the vineyard is farmed much the same way as it was when Giuseppe Martinelli farmed it, without the use of pesticides, trellising or irrigation. This old head-pruned Russian River Valley Zinfandel vineyard yields less than two tons of dense, dark fruit per acre. Our tasting panel (left to right): Mary Thompson, General Manager, Saint Martha Restaurant, Los Angeles; Regina Martinelli, Executive Vice President, Martinelli Winery & Vineyards; Anthony Dias Blue, Editor in Chief, The SOMM Journal; Dana Farner, Senior Wine Advisor, Soutirage, Yountville; Anthony Lerner, Sommelier, Mastro's, Beverly Hills; Waldo Cesoni, Director of Restaurants, Casa del Mar, Santa Monica. Worth Braying About OUR LOS ANGELES PANEL CLIMBS THROUGH A VERTICAL OF MARTINELLI JACKASS VINEYARD ZINFANDEL photos by Dustin Downing Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel.

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