Martinelli Pinots

I am working through some 1998 through 2003 Martinelli Pinots from my cellar. I will start to post tasting notes. Please post your tasting notes as well as food pairing ideas. If you are in the NYC area and would like to join or help organize a tasting of these wines, please let me know.

1999 Martinelli Blue Slide Ridge Pinot - Tasting notes. Not great when first opened. It needed time to open up. Bloomed beautifully over a couple of hours. Nice balance and fruit. Yum.

I’m impressed. I thought the Blue Slide Ridge wines aged the worst of all the Pinots they produce but I never let one get this old. I believe I drank them all by 11 years of age. I remember the 2001 was real hot upon release, lost the heat and tasted fairly well at about 5-6 years and fell apart by 10. Hope your luck is better.

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The 2002 BSR was great around 5 years old. Had it twice and was impressed each time.

The 1999 may be past its prime but was still balanced and a pleasure to drink.

We had the 1998 Martinelli vineyard Pinot we bought on the cheap from Winebid last weekend. Drank really well, was actually best in hours 2-3. It was really an enjoyable surprise.

Chris. I agree they are better after being open a few hours. Tonight, I drank a 2000 Martinelli reserve Pinot. After a couple of hours it was a pleasure to drink. Balanced and fruity. Not at all old.

2000 Martinelli Reserve Pinot tasting notes: Needs 2+ hours to breath. Nice fruit, balance and long finish. A little hot. Still drinks very well - not old. A pleasure to drink.

Tonight I opened a Martinelli 2002 7 Mules Vineyard pinot. Was delish from first taste. Wow. Great fruit and balance. Way different from the subtle earthiness of a Burgundy. But the wine is voluptuous and easy to enjoy. The bottle will last me 3 nights. I will come back with notes from subsequent nights.

This is a great thread, Paul. I’m a bit surprised that these are doing well at this age, and of course “doing well” is a subjective thing where others might disagree, but you’re the one actually tasting them, so I give you the nod.

Chris. Thanks for the kind words. Doing well is certainly subjective. I wish I had a group to taste these with. I imagine we would get a range of opinions.

Tonight is night 2 of tasting the 2002 Martinelli 7 Mules Vineyard. Totally enjoyed with dinner. Nice fruit, raisiny, chocolate prune finish, easy to enjoy. I tend to like rich, fruity Califonia zins and pinots. And I like them with age. I am enjoying this a bit more than other older Martinneli pinots I have had.

Paul, I read your TN and while I agree with your tasting notes, I was curious if you feel that Pinot is grape whose best expression is best made to taste like raisins, prunes and chocolate. Seems more apropos for Zin/Syrah than Pinot.

I recall, about 15 years ago, Julianna telling me that, when considering opening one of her Martinelli pinots, to gently shake up the bottle about three days prior and then stand it up to integrate the sediment and then to allow the sediment to settle out prior to opening. Takes some forethought, but I have mostly followed this protocol and have rarely been disappointed in her pinots, going back to the late 90s. And I agree, Paul- that 2000 Reserve pinot is indeed still quite alive and delicious. I might pull my last bottle to go with the bird on Thursday…

Hmmm, when I think of Pinot, I don’t normally think of raisins and chocolate prunes…

Thanks for all the comments. I am not great at articulating flavors. But I took a shot. Tonight was the 3rd and final night for this bottle. And my favorite of the 3. Great balance, rich fruit and nice finish. I still get raisins - like in the raisin cookies I ate as a kid. I thought this was a great bottle of wine.

I really don’t have a sense for pinot’s best expression. There are plenty of people who despise Martinelli’s high alcohol fruit bombs and prefer the earthiness of a Burgundy. I simply know that I really enjoyed this bottle of wine.

Hmmm, when I think of Pinot, I don’t normally think of raisins and chocolate prunes…

I love chocolate covered raisins.

I thought I would continue drinking and writing up some aged Martinelli Pinots. Tonight is night two for a bottle of Martinelli 2000 Three Colts Pinot Noir. Night one notes: Good fruit but tight. Austere relative to the fruity 2002 7-Mules I wrote about above. Night two: Way better. A pleasure. Nice balance and finish. Less fruit forward than 2002 7 Mules. Any other fans of Martinelli wines out there?

Yes, and I’m visiting the winery on Friday. Will report back if anything interesting. I was pretty much all in on Martinelli products around 15 years ago. Now it is mainly chards and zins, although the zins are really expensive. The pinots are just not my style; over the top. One that I like is the plain Sonoma Coast. It is around 14% alcohol and a nice drinking wine for the $.