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This Week's Tasting

Monte Rosso Wines - Wines from a Storied Vineyard
May 22, 2019

Monte Rosso Vineyard rolls across steep, rugged terrain in the Mayacamas Mountains nearly 1,300 feet above the Sonoma Valley on its border with Napa. Owned by the Louis M. Martini Winery since 1938, it is named for its rich, red volcanic soils and has produced award winning wines for three generations.




The vineyard’s mix of high altitude, position above the fog, low-yielding vines, and ideal western exposure produces wines with a unique sense of terroir. Monte Rosso is one of California’s most prized locations for wine grapes.

         This week’s tasting will center on two wineries that share Monte Rosso’s heritage. Louis Martini has been making wines there since 1938. Mount Peak is the revival of Monte Rosso winery that was famed in the early 20thcentury, but fell victim to Prohibition.

         We will start with a white, Orin Swift’s crisp new Russian River Valley Blank Stare Sauvignon Blanc. It is connected to Monte Rosso in that it includes some grapes from that vineyard, which date back to the 19th century and are the oldest white wine vines in Napa Valley.

Three wines from the Mount Peak label. Their RattlesnakeZinfandelis named for a particularly sunny hill where snakes loved to warm themselves. The Gravity is an old California blend of majority Petite Sirah, followed by Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, vinified and aged separately. The Sentinel Cabernet Sauvignon is rounded with a small amount of Napa fruit.

         The Louis Martini Monte Rosso wines have been Northern Coast icons for over half a century. The Gnarly VineZinfandelhas the depth that comes from vines over 125 years old. TheCabernet Sauvignon is a classic,soft textured, masking rich fruit with a spice unique to its vineyard.



2017 Orin Swift  Blank Stare Sauvignon Blanc; compelling notes of spiced pears, ripe peaches, green apples and dill seed with a waft of aniseed. Medium-bodied and satiny, with a lovely line of freshness, it finishes long and lively Wine Advocate $37; Mixed Case, 33.3; Case, 31.45



2014 Mount Peak Zinfandel Rattlesnake;Aroma: very rich oaky, very dense, very rich chocolate, , lifted, wood, rather pretty; Mouth: juicy bright very rich older, tight acid lean; Very Good Plus 43; Mixed Case, 38.7; Case, 36.55

2015 Mount Peak Gravity Red Blend;Aroma: very dense, rather full, fresh juicy rather dense, dry chocolate, rather deep; Mouth: clean light fresh, rather bright, lifted, dense, smooth, tight acid , lifted clean; Very Good - Excellent48; Mixed Case, 43.2; Case, 40.8

2014 Mount Peak Cabernet Sauvignon Sentinel; Color: medium dark rater dense; Aroma: sweet heady rather dense, , dark, rather herbal, sweet fruit, dusty; Mouth: clean fine acid direct, firm, bright acid, clean fine tannins, long fine tannins; Very Good - Excellent64; Mixed Case, 57.6; Case, 54.40

2015 Louis Martini Zinfandel Monte Rosso Gnarly Vine; Color: light red black; Aroma: very dark, rather dense, light bramble, very dense rather rich, very full, , light bramble, ; Mouth: clean rather fine, elegant racy, very rich, bright clean; Very Good - Excellent75; Mixed Case, 67.5; Case, 63.75

2014 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso;” shows plenty of the nuance that makes wines from this site so compelling, along with an extra kick of textural richness that gives the wine a terrific sense of immediacy. Exotically ripe and inviting, the 2014 will drink well right out of the gate. I would prefer to give it a few years to shed some baby fat. – Antonio Galloni, Vinous 99; Mixed Case, 89.10; Case, 84.95


5/22 Monte Rosso Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $633

5/22 Monte Rosso Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $335

or mix any 6- 11 in stock wines for 10% off

any 12 or more for 15% off


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           - Len Rothenberg