2005 Martinelli Zio Tony PInot and a tangent...

I got this in the Last Bottle sale and opened it tonight. It was very impressive for a wine that was bottled around 10 years ago, but a bit out of balance. It was clearly made from very good raw material, but it was almost cloying, effervescent (taste, not texture), and even cola like at times. I was thinking that if it had a bit of Syrah in the mix (which is also grown at Zio Tony Ranch), or perhaps even some Chardonnay, it might have felt more balanced. On to the tangent…

I know that in burgundy, many red appellations allow for Chardonnay, although few (if any) do so. Similarly, Cote Rotie allows for Viognier, many producers add it to the mix, and I love the results. First, since there are both Pinot and Syrah in the same vineyard at Zio Tony, is it possible that there was already some Syrah in the blend? Also, is there a potential synergy between Pinot and Chardonnay that is not currently utilized, or have I had too much wine?

You are not the first person to express suspicion that big style pinot like this one might have syrah blended into it. But what you are tasting is just a producer who pushes the biggest/ripest expression of pinot, and from a vintage during the period when some producers were pushing it the very farthest.

The alcohol in that was probably 15.5% or so, right? That’s just what pinot tastes like at that level of ripeness.

I don’t know that I’ve heard of any red wine besides syrah being deliberately blended with white grapes, though I think some historic field blend wines might have a small amount of white grapes in them too. Certainly I’ve never heard of pinot or chardonnay being blended with each other, or either one with any kind of opposite color grape.

Good tasting note. I hope you post more often.

Thanks for your note, Nick!

In line with what Chris said:


Goodness I have hated this wine in a few vintages.

Chris: the label listed 14.9% alcohol, so you were spot on that this wine was probably always way overripe.


Excellent article and I was fascinated by this quote:

As a producer of Pinot Noir under the Siduri label and Syrah under the Novy label we have taken this topic very seriously. So much so that we have experimented, in our lab, blending a small amount of Syrah into our Pinot Noir, just to see what everyone else is accusing us of doing. And our experience is that if we were to ever want to make such a blend, it would have to be with damn uninteresting Syrah. Syrah that has character, that has pepper and earth and meat quickly overwhelms any Pinot Noir and doesn’t work as a blending component.

We’ve all accepted as truth the rumor that Hermitage and Cote Rotie were a big component of Burgundy in the past. Those aren’t exactly uninteresting wines; I wonder when the Geriatrics talk about how much better Burgundy used to be, if they are merely lamenting the loss of Syrah in the blend.

Martinelli makes some of the worst wines in the world.
And who is their consultant?


Looks like the consulting winemaker is Erin Green. I think you are referring to Helen Turley who used to consult but hasn’t since 2010.

I wasn’t sure she was still consulting.
I can affirm, that during her tenure, the wines were as bad or worse… [barf1.gif]


What happens it is that some white grapes which are grown alongside the red ones may end up in the tank (field blend). In general Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris “sont autorisés uniquement en mélange de plants dans les vignes. Leur proportion totale est limitée à 15 % au sein de chaque parcelle.”