Wine of the Weeks – The best red wine value in California! Yep, I’ve done it again folks — I’ve worked a deal to get what Robert Parker called “one of the finest value-priced wines in the United States” to you at the best price in Western North Carolina. For almost 40 years, Marietta Old Vine has been providing discriminating palates with pure drinking pleasure, and the current release (Lot #62) might be the best effort ever from this family run winery. Perfect for casual sipping without food, but even better with pretty much anything off the grill, this Zinfandel-based red blend is versatile and fantastic.
Parker wasn’t the only one who loved the Marietta Old Vine Lot #62, Wine Spectator gave it 90 points and named it a “Smart Buy” and Antonio Galloni called it “one of the very best California wines readers will find for the money.” Ben, David and myself are in total agreement with the wine critics, and we invite you to stop by this Saturday, April 1st (2-5 pm) to give it a try. An old school field blend based primarily on Zinfandel with smaller amounts of Carignane, Syrah, Petite Sirah and a few Italian varietals, this is about as honest and real as wine gets.
Founded in 1979 by Chris Bilbro and inspired by his Aunt Marietta’s good home cooking, hard work, and honesty, Marietta Cellars continues to be a family run affair. These days, Chris’s two sons Jake and Scott run the operation with same passion as their father. For many years, all of the grapes for Marietta’s Old Vine was purchased from various grape growers, but today the family owns over 400 acres scattered throughout Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. With such vast acreage under their watch, the Bilbros are able to select the best fruit each year to maintain consistency and quality in this wine.
So what’s this Marietta Old Vine like? It pours a deep and dark color and the nose is ripe, rustic, spicy and hearty — it always reminds me a bit of a really good Southern Italian red (think Salice Salentino or Primitivo). With an array of dark berry flavors along with a healthy dose of black pepper and roasted herb, the wine is full bodied but opulent, smooth in texture, and easy to drink. Like I said before, this is a wine that drinks just fine without food, but do yourself a favor and try it with your favorite barbecue — chicken, pork, or beef. You’ll thank me!
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