Fall ’22 Club: 2019 Christo Red
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.
2019 Christo Red
Estate grown, North Coast Appellation
65% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah, 3% Viognier
Aged for 20 months in neutral barrels. 15.0% ABV
This California grown Rhône varietal blend is focused and piquant with a smack of black pepper, lifted by the scent of dried roses. It surges with ripe Rainier cherries, a touch of dark chocolate, and a depth of black tea and licorice, delivering both power and balance with a seemingly endless finish
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. 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.
The 2019 Harvest brought another fantastic year of smooth weather with a slow-paced, even-growing season. Temperatures were a bit cooler than average, leading to picking a week or so later than typical norms. As per the recent Northern California pattern, fire showed up in late October adding to the stress of the season. Grapes were picked by then and the wines show great depth, measured ripeness, and wonderful retained freshness.
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.
96 POINTS | Wine Advocate: A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah and Viognier, the 2019 Christo has a deep ruby-purple color and alluring scents of blueberry jam and cassis with accents of loamy earth, violet, coffee beans and iron. The full-bodied palate is powerful yet silky, with seamless acidity and gobs of pure violet perfume on the long, layered finish. It’s easy to drink now but offers a decade or more of cellaring potential.
This wine is included in the 2022 Fall Club Shipment, along with our club-exclusive 2019 EX MARIETTA Petite Sirah, and our 2019 Angeli Zinfandel from our Estate series. Learn more about the Marietta Wine Club here.
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.