Marimar Estate Don Miguel Vineyard Cristina Pinot Noir 2017
Nestled in the rolling hills of western Sonoma County, the Russian River/ Green Valley appellation is a perfect microclimate for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Only 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 50 miles north of San Francisco, the site is influenced by the sea's cooling breezes and drifting fog. That is why Marimar Torres selected this privileged location to "export" the Torres family legacy of fine wines to California.
Marimar came to live in California in 1975. After two years of searching, she acquired the land and began planting the 60-acre vineyard in 1986. A second vineyard, in the ’true’ Sonoma Coast, was planted in 2002 and 2008 with 20 acres of Pinot Noir. This property receives an even greater cooling influence due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
The wines are made entirely from estate-grown Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Albariño grapes. The two vineyards, named after Don Miguel and Doña Margarita in honor of Marimar's parents, are unique in California because they are totally European in style. The vines are trained very close to the ground on an open vertical trellis, following the slope of an east-facing hillside; the rootstocks are phylloxera resistant; and the planting density is 2000 vines per acre, four times more than is traditional in California. Such high density promotes root competition and diminishes vigor, naturally reducing the output per vine. Yields are low and labor is intensive, but the vines live longer and produce grapes with greater concentration of flavors, more refined and elegant aromas, and better balance. To contribute complexity, Marimar selected several clones of each varietal. Each clone brings different attributes to the final blend, resulting in wines with deep layers of flavor.
Built in 1992 with a capacity of 15,000 cases, the winery sits on a hill surrounded by vines. The estate is 100% solar-powered and certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The winery’s production wing is outfitted with carefully selected equipment, to allow the control essential to producing a wine based on minimal handling. Its three barrel rooms with independent temperature and humidity controls provide flexibility to experiment with various vinification techniques, in order to best express the fruit's character. The reception wing, decorated with antique winemaking equipment, furniture, and crockery brought over from Catalonia, includes a professional kitchen and a spacious dining room with a grand fireplace. The winery is open seven days a week for tastings and tours by appointment. Today, Marimar is joined by her daughter, Cristina Torres, who recently came aboard the family business.
While the Russian River Valley is a large appellation with multiple climate zones and soil types, it is best known for cool-climate varieties, with Pinot Noir as the most celebrated. The grapes benefit from a reliable late afternoon flow of Pacific Ocean fog through the Petaluma Gap and along the Russian River Valley that ensures slow and steady ripening and the preservation of grape acidity. Today many of California’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir vineyards are in the Russian River Valley, along with its sub-appellation, Green Valley.
Historically Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs had bright red fruit and delicate earthy, mineral notes. But changes in viticultural and winemaking practices have led to stylistic changes in some of the region’s wines. Adjustments to canopy management, among other techniques, have resulted in riper fruit and bolder wines as well. These show flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cola, spice and darker, loamy earth tones, accenting traditional Pinot Noir notes of strawberry, raspberry and light cherry.