Marietta Cellars

Christo Red Blend 2018

North Coast, California

Download Listen

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’s family series is an ode to the elements that have unified the family’s winemakers over time: family, hard work, passion, and a love for the creative process that is winemaking.

Vineyard

The Syrah comes from the McDowell Valley estate, situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, benefits from the cold sink that ensure cools nights and preserves acidity and freshness. The Petite Sirah comes from the Angeli Estate vineyard in Alexander Valley and the Grenache comes from the Yorkville Highlands estate at 1,400 ft in elevation on the mountain pass between the Anderson Valley and the Alexander Valley.

Winemaking

60% Syrah is co-fermented with a small 4% of Viognier for aromatic lift and blended with 24% Grenache, and 12% Petite Sirah, then aged for 18 months in neutral barrels.

Vintage

The 2018 Harvest was a grower’s dream, but it was not without its exciting moments. Spring rains encouraged healthy roots and set up great canopies. The fruit set and cluster development was flawless. Then August and September clocked in as mild, even bordering on cool. Suddenly, the crop’s development potentially started to stall out, but the vines kept working and the first lovely, perfectly ripe fruit was harvested in September. Early October rains soaked the second half of the crop and elicited fears of rot and lost fruit as more storms lined up. Miraculously, the storms failed to materialize, providing a long, dry October and November with beautiful sunny days which slowly ripened the remaining crop. Long seasons like these allow early tannin maturation while the cool weather protects the acid…. All leading to developed, powerful tannins with bright acid at lower than typical brix.

Tasting Note

The cool weather throughout August and September meant the grapes for Christo were afforded maximum hang-time to develop deep, dark intensity without the ripeness that would yield soaring alcohols. Already a late region, McDowell’s last Syrah was picked in November in 2018. Violet, ripe plum, and sage combine to create an evocative nose with hints of charcuterie and iron-like minerality adding an undercurrent of wildness. On the palette, dried strawberries, dark chocolate and black tea richly coat every available surface leaving a chewiness that speaks to aging. Named and styled after Marietta’s founder, Chris Bilbro, this wine is a conundrum of opposites: extracted, intensely flavorful, yet somehow gentle and welcoming.

Food Pairing

Like the snout on the label suggests, Christo pairs well with wild boar sausage, game and other rustic dishes. Try it with olive-braised rabbit, cassoulet or mushroom ragù over polenta.

Color

Red

Grape Varieties

Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Viognier

Appellation

North Coast, California

Farming

The Christo Red Blend 2018 is made from 100% estate fruit, all of which is organically farmed

Alcohol

15%

Suggested Retail Price

$24

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.