We talk about a wine’s “sense of place” so often that sometimes it feels like we’re losing our creative edge!
But the simple truth is, where a wine is grown is probably more influential to the outcome of a finished bottle of wine than any other factor or variable. I guess that’s why winemakers say, “If you have great grapes, you can make great wine.” So for this very reason, we go out of our way to choose wines made from grapes grown in idyllic growing regions for the varietals we’re after.
And when it comes to Pinot Noir, Sonoma is one of our favorite places in all of California to search. Meredith & Lou love Pinots from Russian River, and they are constantly smitten with Anderson Valley, Dry Creek, and Green Mountain, too. But it’s so rare to find a wine of any kind that can actually call three different AVA’s home — and then show up in the bottle representing all three areas with such distinction.
Martin Vineyards might be one of the very few vineyards that sits on a piece of land where the boundaries of three official Sonoma County AVA’s intersect. So the land is all Sonoma County, but the grapes grown here experience three unique microclimates that typically occur within the larger growing region, but are usually more contained within one single AVA at a time.
That’s what makes this Pinot so unique! So let’s cover the AVA’s and what their microclimates bring to grapes grown on this singular vineyard property…
Sonoma Coast: Very cold ocean breezes along the Sonoma Coast give Pinot grapes grown here a perfect situation. As a grape varietal that thrives when temperature swings go from hot to cold very quickly, Pinots from the Sonoma Coast maintain the perfect acidity to keep all of the fruit flavors bright and vibrant. Very few places can drop in temperature as quickly, and Pinot Noir grapes love that kind of temperature drama!
Petaluma Gap: As one of the most notoriously windy areas in all of Sonoma County, the Petaluma Gap gets strong afternoon gusts that challenge the vines and the tight clusters of Pinot grapes clinging to them. A few hours before sundown, it’s not unusual for a relentless breeze to kick up and swirl through a natural sweeping gap in the hills. This unique weather variable helps keeps pests at bay, but it also thickens the grape skins — which in turn creates a beautiful concentration of flavors in the wine. Vines in this growing area can be susceptible to wind damage, however, the location of Martin Family Vineyards is just out of the main wind channel, but located within the area where enough wind exposure challenges the vines and their bounty in the perfect way.
Carneros: The location of this growing region also provides exposure to big diurnal swings and plenty of wind, but the greatest distinction this AVA offers is the length of the growing season when all of these elements combine. A long, drawn-out growing season helps Pinot grapes to ripen and develop intense and vivid colors over the long haul, which is why some of the most famous Pinots in Napa and Sonoma are grown in this AVA. And Martin Vineyards is positioned in such a way as to take full advantage of the clay-like soils of the Carneros AVA which provides this stunning compliment to the high acidity of the grapes. That taste of earth and sky comes into play here, giving the final layers of complexity to the Three Places Pinot Noir.
We know how busy the holidays can be, and sometimes, you might even wish you could be in three places at one time to accomplish everything you need to do! But... Might we suggest a different approach?
Pour yourself a glass of this perfectly balanced Pinot Noir, and drop into the experience of at least tasting Three Places at one time!