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Tasting Interview – James Suckling and Scot Bilbro of Marietta Cellars

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In this Tasting Interview, wine critic James Suckling and Scot Bilbro, winemaker at Marietta Cellars, the two talk vineyards, the dynamic genre of table wines, how these wines are an homage to Scot’s father and more. Suckling expresses surprise that a Californian vine could produce fruit of that caliber and much more!

Related Wines

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red

    California, United States

    Affectionately known as "OVR," Marietta's Old Vine Red is a proprietary red wine made to replicate the field blends of the old vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. A groundbreaking combination of grape varitieis and multiple vintages first produced in 1982, this wine has blazed the path for red blends for decades. With an historic underground following, it is one of the longest lasting and best known red blends produced today. Predominantly comprised of Zinfandel, Old Vine Red combines pure fruit, a supple mouth feel and a rich, solid structure.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Old Vine Riesling

    California, United States

    Marietta's Old Vine Riesling is the most recent and unique extension of the Old Vine series (or "OVR"). Originally intended as a gift for Scot's partner, Lisa, who is German, the bone dry style of Riesling became a fan favorite and permanent addition. While it is the only wine is the lineup that is not estate grown, it comes from some of California's oldest Riesling vines and offers an extraordinary value and delightful drinking experience.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Old Vine Rosé

    California, United States

    Marietta's Old Vine Rosé is a perfect extension of the Old Vine series. Made in a Provençale, direct-press style from some of the oldest Syrah and Grenache vines in California, it is fresh, nuanced, and perfectly balanced to enjoy with food or on its own. As always with the "OVR" wines, it delivers a lot more substance and pleasure than you could expect.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Angeli Zinfandel

    Alexander Valley, California

    Marietta Cellars sits at the entrance to a small canyon off Alexander Valley. Known as Angeli Ranch after the family who originally settled there in 1886, the property’s vineyards connect gravel swales from the Russian River to terraced knolls invisible from the valley floor. The extremes of this site create a wine that is powerful but has surprising elegance and clarity.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Christo Red Blend

    North Coast, California

    Named and styled after Chris Bilbro, affectionately called "Christo" by his great-aunt Marietta, this Rhone varietal blend is gentle but powerful, pleasurable but deep, and refined while raw. An ode to Scot's father and founder of Marietta Cellars, this blend is largely Syrah from the McDowell estate, blended with Petite Sirah from the Angeli Estate and Grenache from the Yorkville Highlands Estate. The pig snout on the label is a reminder of how Chris Bilbro made wild boar sausage and carted his creations around the country to share with chefs and wine lovers alike as he sold Marietta wines.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Román Zinfandel

    North Coast, California

    Named after cellarmaster Román Cisneros who has worked at Marietta for over 32 years, this Estate Zinfandel is from the Angeli estate vineyard in Alexander Valley and the McDowell Valley estate vineyard. One of the grape varieties that Marietta is famous for, this wine captures the bright, juicy character of Zinfandel, and hearkens to an era before dark, thick and oaky styles of Zinfandel took hold.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Game Trail Cabernet Sauvignon

    Yorkville Highlands, California

    From a high elevation site in the Yorkville Highlands with coastal influence and large diurnal shifts, the Game Trail Cabernet offers an intense, fragrant, savory, and fresh style of Cabernet that speaks of site and demands to be paired with food. This area, with trails worn by mushroom hunters and wild game that travel through the woods, was a refuge for Chris Bilbro, who hunted here and searched for Chanterelles. The mushroom on the label is a tribute to this unique place and its significance.

    Marietta Cellars

    Marietta Cellars Gibson Block Syrah

    McDowell Valley, California

    Made from the oldest Syrah vines in California, in the heart of the McDowell Valley AVA, this wine reflects the hidden property where it is grown - quiet, obscure and profound. This ancient, dry farmed, mixed block next to the original Gibson Homestead has been producing grapes for over a hundred years. Limited in production due to the unique grape source, this wine is built to enjoy with food.

    Marietta Cellars

    Mareitta Cellars Armé Cabernet Sauvignon

    North Coast, California

    Named after Armé, the husband of Marietta and great-great uncle of Owner/Winemaker Scot Bilbro, this Cabernet Sauvignon conveys a taut freshness and aromatic purity. Stylistically balanced between modern California and Old World, this wine is dense with fresh, dark fruit and tempered with a savory, earthy character. The dry fly on the label is a reference to Chris Bilbro's long family history of fishing with his great uncle Armé along the waterways that now adjoin the three estate vineyards.

Related Producers

    Marietta Cellars

    Sonoma & Mendocino, California

    Starting with only a handful of purchased grapes in 1978, Marietta Cellars has been a standout winery in Sonoma and Mendocino since the very start. Founded by Chris Bilbro, a Sonoma native with winemaking roots dated back three generations, Marietta rose to prominence with its revolutionary Old Vine Red, a California red blend that essentially created the category. The winery has slowly expanded its estate holdings over the past thirty years, evolving into a beacon for high quality, balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Rhône variety blends.