In a century-old hop barn with the telltale triple towers, Martinelli has the feel of a traditional country store, but the sophisticated wines here are anything but old-fashioned. The winery's reputation rests on its big, complex Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, and Zinfandels, including the $120-a-bottle Jackass Hill Vineyard Zin. Most of these acclaimed wines are produced in such small lots that they're rarely poured in the tasting room (though you can always ask). A typical tasting
begins with a Chardonnay, followed by a sampling of three reds—often among them the playful, luscious Lolita Ranch Pinot Noir—and finishing with a muscat that tastes like sweet honeysuckle. Winemaker Bryan Kvamme, whose mentors include the renowned Helen Turley, likes to bring the fruit forward, and most of his wines do the Russian River Valley AVA proud.