Sanctuary Estates by Fetzer Vineyards
2009 Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Mariah Vineyard
Today’s 2009 Sanctuary Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel is a stupendous wine that we are thrilled to have secured for you!
This delicious, limited-production Zinfandel grows above the fog line, high atop the Mendocino Ridge. The high-elevation vineyard sites between the Anderson Valley and the coastal town of Manchester, where a very consistent cool climate and long growing season create the perfect conditions for the hearty if sometimes finicky Zinfandel grapes grown there by Dan and Vicki Dooling. The Dooling’s Mariah Vineyard is a much sought-after vineyard source for Zinfandel, and Fetzer was lucky to have secured enough fruit for a small run of today’s wonderful Zinfandel.
Today’s Zinfandel is at once elegant and very juicy, giving the wine the sort of balance that is a rare find in a California Zin. This food-fantastic wine is offered to you with our heartiest recommendation.
Vivid, dark scarlet at its heart, transitioning into a lovely red edge.
Bright, clear notes of fruit and spice, with cherry, raspberry, and strawberry flowing into aromas of creamy caramel, sweet vanilla, holiday spices, and a subtle white pepper.
Soft and elegant on the palate, with a delightful balance of flavors. Leading notes of unsweetened cranberry, raspberry, and red currant are laid overtop fruit bramble, cocoa dust, cinnamon, clove, and a subtle pomegranate black tea.
Plenty of personality and refined tannins on the finish, gradually drying the tip of the tongue and leading to an eminently satisfying finale.
A finely cooked pepper-encrusted Filet Mignon with Bordelaise Sauce.
What the Winery Says
The Mariah Vineyard sits 2,600 feet above sea level in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. The Mendocino Ridge is unique in the world, as the vineyards must be above 1,200 feet. Situated on the rugged North Coast, just above the fog line, these vineyards are referred to as the Islands in the Sky. The Mariah Vineyard has sparse soils and is warmed each day before the cooling maritime breezes are drawn westward and cool the vineyards, allowing the grapes to rest each night. These conditions prove challenging to grow grapes but result in fruit with intensity and rich complex flavors. The meticulous farming practices of our growing partners, Dan & Vicki Dooling, have evolved to the point where they can produce miraculous results each year from these challenging conditions.
- Dennis Martin
- Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino County, California
- Mariah Vineyard
- Varietal Composition
- 95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Syrah
About the Winery
The Reason we call it Sanctuary: A varietal looks for the perfect place to express itself, soil, water and weather in natural balance. Cultivated by people who recognize a rare opportunity.
To create these exceptional wines, we put ourselves in the grape’s place. Each varietal has its sweet spot, a special balance of geography, geology and climate where it finds full expression. So we sought the California mecca for each: the uniquely situated Mendocino Ridge for our Zinfandel, the famed Rutherford Bench region for our Cabernet Sauvignon, the Russian River Valley for our Chardonnay, the northern end of the Santa Maria Valley for our Pinot Noir, and the west side of Paso Robles for our Red Blend.
Then we get even more selective, hand-picking only the finest grapes and nurturing them into uncommonly good wines. We know how rare it is to find the perfect elements for winemaking. That’s why we call it Sanctuary.
Winemaker Dennis Martin
As Vice President and Director of Winemaking at Fetzer Vineyards, Dennis Martin cannot imagine a better working environment. “It’s perfect”, he says, “Because we work as a team in a relaxed atmosphere, which enables us to produce consistently high quality wine.”
Martin earned an Agricultural Business degree in 1973 from California State University at Fresno and a master’s degree in Enology and Food Science there in 1975. He worked at United Vintners as a cellar supervisor, white and sparkling winemaker until 1982, when he moved to Scott Laboratories, a major winery supply company where he served as a sales enologist. In 1985, Fetzer Winemaster Paul Dolan selected Martin as his assistant. When Fetzer was acquired by Brown-Forman in 1992, Martin was named Director of Winemaking.
In 1996, Martin ascended to the position of Vice President/Winemaking accountable for all winemaking at Fetzer Vineyards for their several brands.
Martin and his winemaking staff are dedicated to working with individual grape growers and are committed to the concept that winemaking is an integrated team effort. Martin is involved in all major winemaking decisions, including grape selection, tasting, and blending. “I think one of our major successes as a winery is our ability to blend consistently, vintage after vintage,” Martin says.
Fetzer was acquired by the Chilean wine company Vina Concha y Toro in 2011 and Martin was excited about the future opportunities for investment, growth and improved quality for all of the brands. “It’s great to be owned by a wine company again,” Martin said.
Our Pinot sanctuary is located in the northern end of Santa Barbara County where the benchlands gently elevate to the Santa Maria Valley, 17 miles from the Pacific Ocean, affording the Bien Nacido Vineyard well-drained sandy loam from the Elder Shale and Pleasanton series, buffered by the Sierra Madre mountains.
Considered one of the coolest growing regions in California, its long sunny days give grapes intense fruit flavors, while the chilly evenings and maritime fog add the complex earthy and herbal flavors ideal for Pinot Noir.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Fetzer Vineyards announced in 2015 that it had become the largest winery in California to become a certified B Corporation, joining the ranks of businesses such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, that promote their commitment to social responsibility and environmental practices.
They are proudly Greenhouse Gas Free and, by 2017, will be treating 100% of their wastewater with BioFiltro’s patented BIDA® System. Harnessing the digestive power of earthworms and microbes, the BIDA® System naturally cleans winery wastewater and uses 85% less energy than water treatment ponds. A natural by-product from the process enhances soil compost, giving something back to the earth, too.