A Cabernet distinctive of Napa Valley

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Wine with lineage: The 2009 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon is from winemaker Michael Martini, a third generation winemaker who grew up in the vineyards learning from his father, Louis, while also securing a formal education from the prestigious University of California-Davis and traveling the vineyards of Europe in order to hone his skills. | Photo by Mary Compton

Louis Martini Winery has been in existence for over 80 years and has become an institution and integral part of the Napa Valley landscape.

Michael Martini, a third generation winemaker, is very passionate and focused about producing his own distinctive style of Cabernet Sauvignon from this region. While he grew up in the vineyards, learning from his father Louis, he also secured a formal education from the prestigious University of California-Davis and traveled the vineyards of Europe in order to hone his skills.

Michael assumed control of winemaking in 1977 and produces five stylistically different Cabernets under the Louis Martini Winery label. There are the Sonoma County, Napa and Alexander Valley Cabernets, which are distinctive and value driven bottlings, alongside the heavyweight Monte Rosso and mountainside fruit from the Lot 1 Cabernets.

Michael also takes credit for producing the first varietal labeled Merlot and crafting a Gnarly Vine Zinfandel sourced from vineyards over 100 years old, both of which are winery-only items. In 2002, Gallo purchased Louis Martini Winery and placed it into their portfolio while keeping the components intact and allowing the winery to retain its own identity.

The 2009 Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an unblended 100 percent Cabernet that opens with dusty floral elements classic to Napa Valley’s soils. There is no mistaking this to be anything other than Cabernet Sauvignon with elements of smoky cassis, silky black plums, sweet spicy oak and cut flowers. There is an ample amount of ripe fruit integrated with soft tannins. This type of fruit has become the hallmark of Cabernets from Louis Martini Winery, and this consistency speaks of the talents of Michael Martini.

Suggested Retail: $22.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.