Sunday, September 14, 2014

Martha Clara Shines With 6025 North Fork 2010 and Pinot Noir 2012

Earlier in the year, at the Governor's mansion, I had the great pleasure of tasting two Maratha Clara wines with the winemaker Juan E. Micieli-Martinez. I tasted two wines with him, and both were impressive.
In 1978, The Entenmann Family agree to sell their family company and move on to greener pastures. One of Martha Clara’s sons, Robert Entenmann, purchased a potato farm and transformed it into a thoroughbred horse farm on the North Fork of Long Island. Throughout the years he enjoyed his horses and the beauty of the area. However, he couldn’t help but notice the changing landscape all around him. The neighboring potato farms began to give way to vineyards; it was just a matter of time before he would follow suit.

In 1995, Robert caught the grape bug and planted 18 acres of vitis vinifera grapes. Over the next four years his vineyard acreage grew to over 100 acres as he anxiously waited for the grapes to come to age. Robert Entenmann, owner of Martha Clara Vineyards, named the venture after his mother, Martha Clara Entenmann.

Juan E. Micieli-Martinez is the winemaker. Born in Mexico and raised on the Eastern End of Long Island, Juan graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 1999 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Psychology. After leaving Binghamton he continued his education at Suffolk County Community College minoring in Horticulture. That same year he got a taste for the wine industry and started his journey as a tasting room employee at Pellegrini Vineyards. Juan quickly moved into the cellar and became a vintage intern where he assisted the wine making team at Pellegrini Vineyards in various aspects of production.

The following year staying within the realm of “all-things-fermented” Juan moved to the Southampton Publick House and became Assistant Brewmaster for the nationally recognized micro-brewpub. While he found the craft of making beer fascinating Juan could not shake his ‘oenophiliac tendencies’ so in 2001 he took a position with Premium Wine Group, a custom crush facility in Mattituck. While still at Premium, he headed to Australia and became a ‘Vintage Casual’ for Houghton Winery in Western Australia in 2002. Juan assisted in all aspects of Crush ’02 as he worked with premium fruit from the acclaimed Margaret River appellation.

Juan returned to Premium Wine Group in the summer of 2002, but this time as the production winemaker for Pellegrini Vineyards. Juan’s cellar experience grew and it paid off when he landed his first Head Winemaking position in 2006 with Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck. Juan proudly joined Martha Clara Vineyards in 2007.

Juan is a very nice, jovial guy. Hardworking, and very affable, friendly. Like any other wine geek, he likes to talk wine. He's at many events, standing behind a table. Always willing to talk to anyone who wants to talk wine.

First I tasted the estate grown Pinot Noir 2012. The wine is a light garnet color. Very pretty. Bright ripe cherry and some dark berries dominate the nose and palate. Lovely finish. Great long lasting fruit.
The other wine I tried was the Martha Clara Estate 6025 2010 Vintage. All grown on the North Fork of Long Island. The wine is made from 42% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot. It's a classic Meritage. The wine has lovely, ripe cherry, blackberry, and cassis. Nice fruit lasts long across the palate and has very good, classic structure. Great tannins. This is a lovely wine, one you could drink now or cellar for some time. Really fantastic!

Great job to Juan and his staff!