Our Lolita Ranch Syrah has a very fragrant nose with aromas of blueberries, violets, and cacao nibs. The full weight in the mouth has flavors of black currants and kola nut. The structured finish ends with blueberry compote and fresh cracked peppercorns.
The Lolita Ranch is located on Martinelli Road in Forestville. The property was part of the original Martinelli Homestead Ranch, belonging to Giuseppe and Luisa Martinelli who purchased the steep, forested land in the late 1800’s. Later, their eldest son Fred sold the parcel to his neighbor, Lolita Young’s mother. Eventually Bob and Lolita Young inherited it, and ran a herd of cattle on the land for many years. Lee Martinelli Jr. and his wife Pamela acquired the property in 1999 from Bob Young after Lolita’s passing, returning it back to the Martinelli estate and to the family’s continuing century-long legacy of viticulture. Lee Jr. decided to name the ranch after Lolita and planted the steep hillside in 2001 with four different grape varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
2020 will likely go down as one of the most memorable harvests in Martinelli history. The growing season was nearly perfect until mid-August when two nearby wildfires were ignited by a dry lightning storm. At this point in the berries’ growth cycle, the skins are softening and developing favors. Because we religiously prioritize the quality of our wines and the integrity of our brand, we made the hard but crucial decision to not make any Pinot Noir from the 2020 vintage. Unlike the other varieties that we grow, Pinot Noir is susceptible to absorbing flavors from its surroundings because it is exceptionally thin-skinned. This is why we can pick up terroir flavor nuances even within the same AVA in this grape. Luckily, we have Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Syrah from the 2020 vintage. Chardonnay is removed from its skin as soon as it enters the winery, so contact with any smoke flavors is extremely minimal. Zinfandel and Syrah both have very tough skins and did not absorb the smoke flavors we tasted in the Pinots. Though we were only able to process half the amount of fruit we do in a normal year, we are grateful for the outstanding wines we were able to make from the 2020 harvest.