Martinelli Winery is truly a creation born out of love. Founders Giuseppe and Luisa Martinelli eloped from their native Tuscany in 1895, with little more than their knowledge of winemaking, and set out to make a life in the new world. Over a century later, we can safely say that they succeeded. In their wake, Martinelli has grown to be one of the most important agricultural families in northern California; not just wine, but high quality produce as well. That being said, it's always the wine that draws our attention. In contrast to some California producers who make only one or two fine wines, it is the range of Martinelli wines that consistently impresses us. Sure, there's extremely rich, exotic Zinfandel from old vines in the Russian River Valley, often with freakishly high (i. e., 16+%) alcohol. But there's also superb Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast and outstanding Pinot Noir from the Blue Slide Ridge Vineyard. Of the Zinfandel, the Giuseppe & Luisa bottling is the closest thing to a fruit bomb here, while the Jackass Vineyard and scarce Jackass Hill wines are characterized by roasted fruits, game, leather, menthol and earth. At the controls of the fleet are winemaker Brian Kvamme, and consulting winemaker Helen Turley of Peter Michael, and Marcassin fame. Brian worked under Helen until being promoted to head winemaker in 2007, however both continue to share their passion and knowledge as they endeavor to make the best wines possible.