Marimar Torres with his daughter Christina and the family dogs, real and otherwise (Photograph provided)
Nestled in the rolling hills of western Sonoma County, the Russian River/Green Valley appellation offers the perfect microclimate for growing Pinot Noir.
Just ten miles from the Pacific Ocean and 80 miles north of San Francisco, the site is influenced by cooling sea breezes and drifting fog.
That’s why Marimar Torres chose this prime location to establish a New World branch of their highly respected family winery in Spain. In the past we stocked their pinot noir and chardonnay, but haven’t had any of their fine wines for a few years. Now we have four for you.
The 2020 Marimar Estate Don Miguel Albariño Vineyard offers you the chance to see what this popular white grape variety from Spain can produce in California with its bright aromas of honeysuckle, star jasmine, Asian pear and stone fruits like apricot and white peach. The palate displays its classic minerality reminiscent of wet stones and it is crisp and lively, flavorful and with lively acidity. To be served with raw or grilled seafood, smoked salmon, sushi and Asian cuisine – and of course, with tapas!
Carafe the magazine gave it a very high rating of 92/100 and commented: “This is a ripe, round wine that fills the mouth, with aromas of warm peach skins, showing crisp, tangy acidity on the finish with a minerality of wet rock.” $43 (#9309).
The 2018 Marimar Estate Don Miguel Vineyard La Masia Pinot Noir Russian River, Sonoma has a bright classic color and nose, reminiscent of raspberries and black cherries, with savory notes of orange peel and sage, sandalwood and sassafras. The palate has scents of violets and orange blossom, with supple tannins that promise a long life. It will continue to develop for another 10-15 years, maybe longer. The wine spectator awards it 94 points and says, “Well-structured and powerful, with umami-like richness to raspberry pie and cherry pastry flavors backed by firm tannins and fresh acidity. Mineral mid-palate, with a finish full of flavors and framed by slate accents. $59 (#9306).
The cellar tells us about their Domaine Marimar 2018 Vineyard Dona Margarita Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir“We named this bottling Mas Cavalls after the Catalan name of Horse Farm, because our new event center in our former stable is right below the vineyard. The 20-acre Doña Margarita Vineyard is certified sustainable and is located in the Sonoma Coast Denomination of Origin. Cool breezes and mist drifting in from the Pacific Ocean, six miles away, make this an ideal site for pinot noir. Planted in the very high density European style, with 2,340 vines per acre, yields are low and labor intensive; but the vines live longer and the grapes acquire better balance and greater concentration, as well as more elegance and finesse.
“It’s a lovely classic Pinot color with a nose that reflects its ancestry: sweet dark fruits like blackberries, rhubarb and cranberry, plus classic forest floor, meaty and earthy, with floral notes of lavender and rosehip. On the palate it is soft but ample, with minerality, lively acidity and well-integrated tannins that promise long life; this wine will continue to evolve for at least 10 to 15 years. I would recommend serving it at cellar temperature, between 58 and 60F. $54 (stock no. 9307).
The Domaine Marimar Vineyard Don Miguel Cristina Pinot Noir 2017 has engaging aromas of dark fruit, ripe cherries and a hint of pomegranate, with savory notes of bay leaf and anise. The mouth is seductive, endless, with a nice balance and silky tannins. Its complexity and fine acidity, its perfectly integrated woodiness and fruit, bode well for a long life, at least another 15 to 20 years. These Pinot Noirs are perfect cellar candidates. James Sucking gives it a score of 93/100 and writes: “Aromas of ripe cherry, strawberry compote, spice box, lavender and chocolate orange. It is full-bodied with ripe tannins. Lots of dark spice and wood on a long, concentrated finish. But stay nimble and fine. $72.90 (stock no. 9308).
Located in one of my favorite Sonoma towns – Healdsburg – you’ll find Gary Farrell Winery which was one of the first to offer Burgundy varietals from “the Burgundy of the West” as people often refer to as Russian River Valley of California. It was here in the 1800s that Russian fur traders came to hunt as the cool climate ensured healthy, warm skins and now, perfect temperatures for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well.
Our Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River Selection 2019 is described by their winemaker: “Rich and golden, yet vibrant and zesty, this beautiful orchestra of Russian River Valley vineyards offers tantalizing aromas of ripe nectarine, honeysuckle, lemongrass and freshly baked brioche. Flinty, brackish and spicy, the palate is full-bodied and rich, yet remarkably mineral, with flavors of roasted Meyer lemon, grapefruit, ginger and just a kiss of lightly toasted oak. The lovely saline quality balances the tangy acidity and lingering spice. Everything is well integrated, from the tangy attack to the long oily finish.
The Passionate about wine says, “This exceptional wine offers a full range of complex flavors, texture and depth; the grapes come from a who’s who of sites such as Bacigalupi, Westside Farms and Rochioli. Gravenstein apple, Meyer lemon, tangerine and thirst-quenching acidity combine with an accent of butterscotch and a rich, balanced texture. 94/100. $45.25 (Stock #6479).
The Pinot Noir Gary Farrell Russian River Selection 2019 is a real beauty with its raspberries, red currants and strawberries followed by a nose of tobacco and undergrowth, cola, summer jasmine, honeysuckle and rose petals. Next are cherries, garden herbs and sweet baking spices. Reviewer James Suckling gives it 95 points and writes: “Aromas of wild cherry, plum, crushed stone and sea breeze. Medium bodied with integrated tannins. An array of fresh, colorful red fruits and flowers fills the palate. Very tasty and satisfying. Crisp acidity and a mineral edge keep the palate vibrant and dynamic. Persistent finish. Attractive. Drink or hold back. $53.75 (Stock No. 6480).
• This column is an infomercial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at [email protected] Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm