2014 Martinelli "Moonshine Ranch" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1272785 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Pinot Noir Moonshine Ranch displays loads of structure, rich kirsch liqueur notes with some licorice and forest floor. The wine has fabulous fruit on the attack, medium to full body, and beautiful ripeness, purity and length. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. 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. 93+ (RP)  (3/2016)

93 points Vinous

 A super-classic Russian River wine, the 2014 Pinot Noir Moonshine Ranch offers up a compelling mélange of sweet red cherry, plum, spice, mint and new leather. This is one of the more exuberant wines in the Martinelli range. As such, it will drink very well pretty much upon release. Moonshine is usually one of the first parcels the Martinellis harvest. I always look forward to my tastings at Martinelli. The entire family gathers around a long rectangular table to show their latest releases. This year, the 2014 Pinots are the most impressive wines in the range. Martinelli fans will not want to miss the new Wild Thyme Pinot. The 2013 Chards are a bit subdued, both by Martinelli standards and within the context of the vintage. Perhaps I caught those wines at an awkward stage. The Syrahs are attractive, although in 2013 the flavor profile leans more towards the red end of the spectrum, which is unusual here. The Martinellis are probably best known for their Zinfandel. The new collection of current releases delivers the goods. As always, the Martinellis like to harvest ripe, which to them means that fruit has to begin to show some dimpling. The wines are rich, powerful, and, at their best, deeply satisfying. (AG)  (1/2016)

Wine Spectator

 Zesty ripeness gives the cherry and raspberry notes plenty of torque, with anise, black licorice, savory herb and underbrush defining the base notes. (JL, Web-2016)

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Price: $69.99

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

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:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.