This site on Frei Road, in the heart of Russian River Valley, is owned by the Martinelli family and is farmed by George Martinelli, the youngest in a distinguished family of Sonoma County viticultural masters.
Reflecting the rich character of the small 2006 crop, this vintage of Patz & Hall's Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Chardonnay has a silky, viscous texture that accentuates its sweet custard and caramelized sugar elements. Vibrant and fruity, this wine displays more lime, peach and lemon cream notes than in previous vintages, with a citrus oil emphasis that segues to a long, satisfying finish.
"Bright gold hue. Fresh apricot and peach aromas with a secondary wet stone mineral scent. Ripe peach and caramel flavors with a subtle vanillin influence. Rich, steadfast close with lingering peach, butterscotch and mineral notes." 92 Points The Wine News
Patz & Hall Winery
Patz and Hall Wine Company was founded in 1988 by Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz, and is dedicated to the production of hand-crafted wines. The four are long-time Napa Valley residents and wine industry professionals, with a wide variety of experiences. Patz and Hall produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from selected vineyard sources in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey counties. The Patz and Hall method is to work closely with each of their growers to achieve a unique expression of the vineyard site and deliver wines that reflect both the site and their vision for great wine.
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The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.