Marimar Estate Dona Margarita Vineyard Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir 2007
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”