96 points Wine Advocate, 93 points Vinous
Giuseppe and Luisa Martinelli planted three acres of Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley in the 1880s.The old vineyard is now known as Jackass Hill and remains the steepest non-terraced hillside vineyard in Sonoma County. Nearly one century later Giuseppe and Luisa’s grandson, Lee Martinelli Sr., followed in their footsteps by planting a Zinfandel vineyard. He grafted bud wood from the centurion vines onto de-vigorating rootstocks and planted them one meter by two meters apart, equating to about 2,000 vines per acre, on a rocky knoll above the Martinelli Winery Tasting Room.
The growing season of 2017 stayed wet with spring rains and cooler temperatures, providing moist soil reserves through the summer. The summer had stretches of hot days throughout, especially over the Labor Day weekend, when harvest was at its peak. We were very lucky in October 2017 that the Tubbs Fire, which burned from Calistoga to Santa Rosa, stopped 1.5 miles from our properties. Across Sonoma County as well as in our vineyards, 95% of all wine grapes were already harvested and were not affected by the smoke from these devastating fires.