The Marino Vineyard|
The first vintage from the Marino Vineyard, the
2003 Crinella Sauvignon Blanc, won the silver medal at the 2004 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
The recognition was a dream come true after years of vineyard research and planning had at long last come to fruition.
We had invested so much time and energy in the Marino Vineyard before the first official harvest, I started asking, 'Can't we at least taste
the dirt to get an idea what the grapes might taste like?'
Unlike the soil on the estate vineyard, the
Marino Vineyard is comprised of the fairly fertile
Wright soil series. "Fertile soil creates a
good balance between the earth and the grape," says
"Given the soil and the varietal potential of Sauvignon Blanc (which is a good vegetative
and fruit grower), we feel we can limit the fruit to achieve the highest quality in this site."
Located in one of the warmer areas of the
Russian River Valley, the Marino
Vineyard experiences less rain and weather challenges than is typical of
the region. Pratt, whose home ranch is just down the road from the Marino
Vineyard, is intimately familiar with the area's growing conditions. "The warmer temperatures allow the fruit to ripen with fully developed flavors,"
The vineyard is planted
in two Sauvignon Blanc clones, approximately 50 percent each: Sauvignon
Blanc Clone 01 and Sauvignon Musqué. The Clone 01 produces grapes
with classic citrus and fruit flavors, while the Musqué results in
grapes with more floral and spicy notes. They are a great complement to
each other. Crinella
winery also produces a botrytis wine from the
Glissando, this sweet wine is rich with
pineapple, pear and citrus flavors. "This is truly a special occasion wine," says Ramona Crinella.
The vineyard is on 8' by 5' spacing with
1,089 vines to the acre. Both clones are on 101 root stock. We have 21 planted acres.
Sauvignon Blanc 01 comes to our vineyard from cuttings originally taken in 1878 from
Chateau d'Yquem in Bordeaux. Sauvignon Musqué clone is genetically related but has an
astonishing bouquet, with floral hints, and we use it to create a more complex wine.
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Our job, as we see it, is to do nothing that interferes with the potential of this vineyard.
Each year we care for the vines by hand, tending the canopy and vigorously thinning our
crop to intensify the flavors of the remaining clusters. As
harvest time nears, we taste the grapes
on the vines daily to
determine when the crop has ripened to his exacting standards. At this time we need nerves of steel, as days tick by.