2009 Martinelli "Jackass Vineyard" Russian River Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1058406 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Zinfandel Jackass Vineyard emerges from a plot of 130-year-old head-trained vines. Plums, exotic spices, tar, minerals, forest floor and black cherries are some of the many notes that come to life in this powerful, explosive wine. Layers of fruit continue to build with notable intensity as the wine flows through to its intense, resonant finish. This is a dazzling wine from Martinelli, but patience will be required. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2029. (AG)  (2/2012)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky purple. Explosive, exotically perfumed aromas of blueberry, blackberry, dark chocolate, toasty oak spices and incense; nothing shy about this. Lush, supple and broad, with palate-coating dark berry compote and floral pastille flavors accented by licorice and Indian spices. For all its exotic fruit character, this shows surprising poise and precision and an almost restrained character. I did say "almost." Finishes velvety and long, with supple tannins and lingering notes of dark berry liqueur and candied flowers. I'd be inclined to serve this by itself, or maybe with a blue cheese. (ST)  (5/2011)

K&L Notes

Jackass Hill, the steepest non-terraced hillside vineyard in Sonoma County, got its name because, "only a jackass would farm a hill that steep." Well, thank goodness for jackasses, because the old vine Zinfandel from this 60-degree slope produces excellent, concentrated wine. Roasted meats, black pepper and bright, cassis and blackberry fruit follow from the nose to the palate, complemented by earthy-sweet sandalwood and anise accents.

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Price: $88.99
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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).