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Martinelli Giuseppe & Louisa Zinfandel 2005

Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • RP94
  • WS93
16.9% ABV
  • RP91
  • RP93
  • RP90
  • RP94
  • RP91
  • RP92
  • RP95
  • RP94
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16.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Rain during bloom-time in the vineyards caused shatter in the clusters and a smaller than average yield, especially for Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. This was a year that was highly touted by critics. Wines were balanced and elegant.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Of course, the Martinellis made their reputation with their extraordinary Zinfandels, and the newest of the cuvees is the Zinfandel Giuseppe & Luisa. The 2005 is a blockbuster, with deep ruby/purple color and a big, sweet nose of ripe figs, strawberry and cherry jam, mincemeat, and peppery spices.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Explosive in its richness, this is superripe, offering layers of blackberry, raspberry, cracked pepper, licorice and smoky, meaty oak. The texture is supple and jammy, yet this is balanced with acidity and has great depth of flavor.
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Martinelli Winery & Vineyards

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Martinelli Winery & Vineyards, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
2005 Giuseppe & Louisa Zinfandel
The Martinelli family has been farming in Sonoma County since 1860. All of the wines are produced from estate grown grapes which are farmed by Lee Martinelli Sr., and sons, Lee, Jr. and George, continuing five generations of the proud family legacy of caretaking the land. The Martinelli family along with winemaker Bryan Kvamme and consulting winemaker, Helen Turley (1992-2010) work from beginning to end; analyzing soil samples, choosing rootstocks, varietals and clones that are the best matched to a particular growing site, seasonal primping and pruning in the field, and the final blends for the finished wines. The Martinelli family specializes in single-vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, The Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river which flows through the region. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, further from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

KHM131510_2005 Item# 131510