750Daily: Martini Winery

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TomHill
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750Daily: Martini Winery

#1 Post by TomHill » July 31st, 2019, 8:12 am

A really terrific article, as linked in WineTerriorist, by KelliWhite on the history of MartiniWnry:
750Daily:MartiniWnry
including a lot about the MonteRossoVnyd. (Long, but not boring)
It recounts how LouisPMartini went directly from EllisIsland, fleeing the poverty of SouthernItaly (where was the Wall when we needed it?) to SanFrancisco on a train, starting out with two loaves of bread and a package of Bologna, to join his Father in the fish biz. And his entry into the wine biz, the transition from LouisP to LouisM in 1956, then to MikeMartini in the late '70, then the purchase by Gallo in 2002.
I, of course, have stories:

I actually met, briefly, LouisM back in the early '70's. I had stopped at Martini to buy a btl of their Moscato. As I was tasting at the bar, he walked in to get something at the tasting room, and then proceeded to work his way down the bar, and a dozen or so people, introducing himself and asked then what they were trying and what they thought of it. When he got to me, I recounted how I had come for the Moscato, and how I liked the (MonteRosso) Barbera I was trying. He immediately ordered the staff to open a btl of the Moscato (which they apparently didn't normally pour) and shared a glass with me, recounting how it was one of his favorite wines. Then off back into the wnry. Never got a chance to meet MikeMartini, though.

They only made a small amount of the Moscato and only sold it in a small window of the year, early Winter I believe. It was slightly fizzy, fairly sweet, and absolutely delicious Muscat.

PaulDraper recalls how, in the early '70's, before the PotLuck restaurant closed, HankRubin (another of my heroes) gathered a bunch of wine folks together at PotLuck and they tasted thru a bunch of the old Martini wines, going back into the '30's. Paul recounted how the wines seemed all do youthful and attributed it to the fact that LouisM would pasteurize his wines to keep them shelf-stable in the hot wine stores in Modesto. It also the reason the older Martinis didn't develop as much complexity as some wines...they went into the btl in sort of a suspended animation. I've had, way back when, some of those old Martini Zins & Barberas from the '50's & '60's that seemed so fresh & alive and belied their age.

Anyway, a very good article by Kelli and well worth reading, no matter how much you may hate Gallo for what they've done to the great Martini name (which I don't think is that bad, in fact).
Tom

S teve R edenbaugh
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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#2 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » July 31st, 2019, 8:22 am

Tom, thanks for the heads up. I'll always have a soft-spot in my heart for the wines. I can't recall how many of the 1978 Monte Bello Cabernets I drank, but they were amazing...even with their funky white plastic top.

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Uhhhh...

#3 Post by TomHill » July 31st, 2019, 8:32 am

S teve R edenbaugh wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 8:22 am
Tom, thanks for the heads up. I'll always have a soft-spot in my heart for the wines. I can't recall how many of the 1978 Monte Bello Cabernets I drank, but they were amazing...even with their funky white plastic top.
Presume you mean MonteRosso, Steve?
Tom

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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#4 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » July 31st, 2019, 9:25 am

yep....brain fart. Thanks

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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#5 Post by Eric Ifune » July 31st, 2019, 4:03 pm

Met Louis M as a teenager. He was working the winebar when my folks walked in. "Does the kid want any wine?" I, of course, said yes. It was a different world back then. We'd always get some of the Moscato Amabile. Kept it in an ice chest else it would referment.

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Got them reversed..

#6 Post by TomHill » August 1st, 2019, 6:01 pm

LouisM was the founder. LouisP was the son, Mike’s father. LouisP was the one I met.
Tom

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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#7 Post by ClydeUnderwood » September 9th, 2019, 11:45 pm

As near as I can tell nobody has posted any pictures from the HVS tour and dinner at the Monte Rosso vineyard on June 8 of this year. So I'll post mine.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/clyde_und ... 0780507862

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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#8 Post by Dan Kravitz » September 14th, 2019, 4:49 pm

I am surely not the only wine geek with mixed feelings about Gallo, dating back over half a century when Gallo California Zinfandel in gallons became my go-to wine. In those days, $5/gallon and probably 100% Sonoma from Estate vineyards. OTOH I have serious dislike and distrust for a few of their wines and some of their policies and practices.

I've loved Louis Martini wines for an even longer time. The Zinfandel mentioned above replaced half gallon jugs of Louis Martini Mountain Red.

No mixed feelings about the sale of Martini to Gallo. I think it's been a wonderful thing. Martini was in economic trouble and needed to sell. Gallo was the logical buyer. They not only kept on the talented Michael Martini, they invested significant resources to make his life and work easier. The most obvious result is 1/4 million cases annually of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon that is consistently excellent wine and outstanding value. The far smaller production of Napa is better, more expensive and usually worth the money. I can't count the times I've been in a non-wine restaurant in search of something to drink and found these. Or btg on a hotel wine list. Or in a liquor store when I wanted something to take to my hotel room late at night. Yes, I'm a wine geek but have no problem admitting that Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet (and KJ Chardonnay) are safe things to take to camp when in what's otherwise a wine desert.

Dan Kravitz
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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#9 Post by rsmithjr » September 15th, 2019, 7:41 am

Louis Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon are spectacular values and easily some of the finest cab's from Sonoma. I look forward to trying the latest releases.
Roger Smith- Longtime wine drinker and bon vivant'

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Re: 750Daily: Martini Winery

#10 Post by Rich Brown » September 17th, 2019, 8:45 am

Dan Kravitz wrote:
September 14th, 2019, 4:49 pm
I am surely not the only wine geek with mixed feelings about Gallo, dating back over half a century when Gallo California Zinfandel in gallons became my go-to wine. In those days, $5/gallon and probably 100% Sonoma from Estate vineyards. OTOH I have serious dislike and distrust for a few of their wines and some of their policies and practices.

I've loved Louis Martini wines for an even longer time. The Zinfandel mentioned above replaced half gallon jugs of Louis Martini Mountain Red.

No mixed feelings about the sale of Martini to Gallo. I think it's been a wonderful thing. Martini was in economic trouble and needed to sell. Gallo was the logical buyer. They not only kept on the talented Michael Martini, they invested significant resources to make his life and work easier. The most obvious result is 1/4 million cases annually of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon that is consistently excellent wine and outstanding value. The far smaller production of Napa is better, more expensive and usually worth the money. I can't count the times I've been in a non-wine restaurant in search of something to drink and found these. Or btg on a hotel wine list. Or in a liquor store when I wanted something to take to my hotel room late at night. Yes, I'm a wine geek but have no problem admitting that Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet (and KJ Chardonnay) are safe things to take to camp when in what's otherwise a wine desert.

Dan Kravitz

So spot on about the Martini cab when you're in a pinch. Been many-a occasion when I've been very happy to find that wine available (casual restaurants, hotel BTG, client sponsored events, etc). You can absolutley do much, much worse in those situations.

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