Wine tips from a famous Napa Valley family

January 12, 2010 3:18:36 PM PST
Wine tips from a third generation Napa Valley Family -- Louis M. Martini Winery.

  • 2007 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, $17
  • 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $27
  • 2005 Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon, $85
  • 2005 Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, $125
Louis M. Martini Winery
254 South St. Helena Highway (Rt. 29)
St. Helena, CA

About Louis M. Martini Winery:

Founder Louis M. Martini was an Italian immigrant who built his Napa Valley winery as the end of Prohibition approached in 1933. His son, Louis P. Martini, became winemaker in 1954.

Michael Martini, Louis M.'s grandson, became winemaker in 1977 and is winemaker to this day.Louis M. Martini wines are the voice of Cabernet Sauvignon and reflect three generations of accumulated wisdom fitting vines to the land and blending for balance in the bottle.

Wines available in fine restaurants and sold by select retailers include the Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon and the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Site specific Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley and Monte Rosso Vineyard, as well as Lot No. 1, which is sourced from Napa Valley's best mountain AVA's, are limited release wines available in the winery tasting room and in select restaurants and bottle shops as well.

About The Vineyards:

Martini family winemakers believe that special wines come from special places, including the Monte Rosso Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Purchased by the family in 1938, the Monte Rosso Vineyard is said to be one of the most highly regarded grape growing sites in California, and it is certainly one of the most historic.

Recognized for its outstanding quality and consistently intense flavors, the first Monte Rosso fruit was sold to an outside producer in the early 1990's.

The word quickly spread, and Monte Rosso fruit became some of the most sought after fruit in wine country. Today, there are close to fifteen producers bottling vineyard designated Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

About Mike Martini:

He grew up in his father and grandfather's vineyards, learning first-hand what it takes to make world-class wines. When he wasn't in school in rural St. Helena, he was working at the winery, or out riding horses.

Today, St. Helena has grown up, and Mike rides a motorcycle, but he still gets up every day to make Cabernet Sauvignon that will make his family proud.

A graduate of the world-renowned winemaking program at U.C. Davis, Mike worked alongside his father before taking over the reins as winemaker in 1977.

He continues to develop his own strong personal style, creating wines that are balanced, complex, and well-suited to accompany foods. Mike studied artisan winemaking techniques in Bordeaux and Burgundy before settling in at home.

Much of what he learned there went into the micro-winery he recently built a hundred yards from his office. "This is the greatest tool kit a winemaker ever had," Mike says. "We're going to have some great wines coming out of what we learn with these small lots."