Donatiello Pinot Noir Russian River 2010 ~ the Anthill Farms Connection


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

DONATIELLO Pinot Noir 2010
Russian River Valley

* Winemaker Webster Marquez gained much of his experience working at highly respected Pinot producer Williams-Selyem…

* Marquez also co-owns the highly sought after Cult Pinot label called Anthill Farms…

Retails at:  $40.00/btl

Your Price: $33.99/btl

(That’s over 20% OFF) + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

 “Powerful aromas of black cherry, cola, dried cranberries and plum; Deep, layered flavors of black raspberry, dark plum, chocolate, rhubarb, & cola. The big forward fruit, combined with ultra-fine tannins create a fabulous length, and very pleasurable velvety finish. This is a Pinot for those who enjoy delicious forward fruit, concentration and the classic silky finish that only great Pinot Noirs can deliver!

~2010 Donatiello Russian River Pinot~

This tremendous Russian River Valley Pinot find has all the pedigree to become the Next Cult Pinot Producer. Winemaker Webster Marquez already has a cult like following for his Anthill Farms Pinots, and combined with his experience at highly respected Pinot producer Williams-Selyem, the new Donatiello Russian River Pinot is a wine to secure now! At a special price of less than $34/btl and with the added benefit of shipping included on case purchases, the new Donatiello Pinot is one of our best discoveries this year. I strongly recommend adding a 15 bottle case or two of this magnificent Russian River Pinot to your cellar. This reminds me of when we first discovered Pinot producers such as Ketcham Estate, Pey Lucia and Walter Hansel….

The Prince of Pinot – writing in his Pinot File – defined Webster while discussing the Anthill Farms project,


Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast and attended college in Virginia. Here he began working as an assistant winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards. He then moved to Sonoma County where he joined Williams Selyem. Currently he is the winemaker at C. Donatiello Winery in Healdsburg. The trio’s goal is to craft Pinot Noirs that “express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage, and above all else, taste good.” They disdain the riper style of Pinot Noir, looking more for freshness of flavor and acidity.”
~ The Pinot File

Fans of exceptionally high quality, Russian River Valley Pinot, I strongly recommend jumping on board with this up and coming Cult Pinot, before the rest of the world catches on….

To order, reply to this post, email at the address below or call my office…

All the best in wine & life,
Wine Country Connection

Of Alcohol, Cali Pinot and Jokesters

Being as personally familiar with the players in this story as I am, my take on this is simply that Adam Lee (owner of Siduri, and subject of the article linked at this story’s end) has suffered the same fate as most vintners attempting to sell products designated with  Peter Cargasacchi’s vineyard nicknames. Peter’s moniker on a label has forever resulted in lackluster performance at the cash register. Simply stated, Lee’s switching of labels proved THAT more than alcohol preferences.

Parr knows full well the marketability of each and every one of not only the wine-makers who were in attendance at the event discussed in the article, but likewise the consumer demand for each of the vineyards represented in the winemakers’ portfolios. Whether or not Parr carries any number of the numerous Kosta Browne pinots throughout the various restaurants he manages, in other words, doesn’t mean he isn’t intently familiar with the fact that KB’s Keefer Ranch designated wine is one of the most sought after vinous specimens on the planet. Slap a Keefer Ranch designation on a wine and you, as a wine-maker are practically guaranteed a cash cow.

Conversely, primarily due to the inherently graceful, elegant, properly balanced and, well, Burgundian nature of wines resulting from the fruit emanating from Cargasacchi-designated vineyards – Pinot Noirs so unique as to stand out from a crowd of primarily jammy-flavored specimens dominating the landscape out West – Parr and others (including yours truly) suffer consumer resistance when selling wines nicknamed for Peter against his California brethren’s.

And while no man can know another’s inner intentions, as a learned man of the vine, Parr performed brilliantly. Knowing full well the strength – alcohol-wise – of a Keefer-designated wine (no matter from which wine-maker’s stable such a wine is born), pre-determined to remain true to his convictions, he identified and offered to commercialize the Cargasacchi product; also keenly aware of the latter’s reputation.

Lee, on the other hand, proved nothing with his exercise. For as long as I have known his products, I have known them to be designed in the precise manner as several, if not the vast majority, of his peers – that it to say, in the jammy-styled category. This preference for fruit first, typicité later runs consistently through Lee’s offerings to include the Cargasacchi label, unfortunately. And I say unfortunately because the difference between the two styles – Cargasacchi and Keefer – is similar to Volnay and Nuits.

And if you can switch labels between a Volnay and a Nuits and not have a seasoned palate discern the difference, the joke is on the label switcher, NOT the taster.


Roar – “Among the Finest Produced in California”

Roar – “Among the Finest Produced in California”

Roar – “Among the Finest Produced in California”


As I begin to compose my thoughts for this letter, I remember back to that now-famous line, uttered so perfectly by Sean Connery throughout his career, as his character in the 007 series would introduce himself; “Bond, James Bond”.  I think of that phrase every time I hear that a new release of this wine is headed my way.  “ROAR, ROAR WINES.”

ROAR Pinots need absolutely zero introduction for the initiated.  They come to us from the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Highlands region of the Central Coast – Monterey to be quite specific – and they are quite simply, as Parker so perfectly points out, “Among the finest produced in California”.  From the very first review of these tremendous and full-bodied Pinots ever offered by the Wine Advocate, the world has waited in line for a chance to purchase these singular efforts from the gracious Franscioni couple.

The wines of ROAR Vineyards – so named as to pay homage to the screaming winds that blow through the hills and valleys of this region, originating from the coast – are made by Gary and Rosella Franscioni along with their good friend and wine-maker Gary Pisoni, to bring to light the very best attributes of this part of California.  These are powerful Pinots, rightly so, and yet they retain the elegance that Pinot Noir is so famous for.  Meeting the people behind the wines will completely, as is so often the case, explain the wine you’ll find in the bottles.

What’s more, the names of the vineyards these folks are behind as farmers and proprietors are equally as famous as a source for world class wines in many other folks hands as well.  A bottle of Pinot Noir carrying the Garys’, Rosella’s, or Pisoni vineyard designations, when bottled by an ever-increasing number of fine producers in California, is as close as one can come to a guarantee of a tremendous wine.  The assistance these 3 people have offered to so many folks, in their attempts to produce world-class Pinot Noir, is truly heart-warming.

Today, we have just a small offering (minuscule, to be precise) from this tremendous estate to offer all of you.  As is the case with ROAR, the wines are consistently offered for sale — and completely sold out — before the reviews are printed by the wine writers.  If you look at the previous vintage’s notes, however, you’ll understand the reason behind the quick and consistent sell-through.

Just as a final note, here are some words from the experts on this amazing estate:

“Wow! I was blown away by these Pinot Noirs from Roar. They all reveal unbelievable complexity, richness, and the extraordinary potential that exists in the Santa Lucia Highlands for this varietal.

[It] reminds me of a beautifully ripe top vintage of Grand Cru Corton from the Cotes de Beaune.

This brilliant Pinot Noir is among the finest produced in California.”
— Robert Parker, covering several offers from ROAR

“Gary and Rosella Franscioni, third generation farmers in the Santa Lucia Highlands, are proprietors of Roar Wines, proprietors of Rosella’s Vineyard and partners with Gary Pisoni in Garys’ Vineyard.

With the Roar Pinots, they set out to capture the pure character of the Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards that they are so intimately familiar with….

The Franscionis are perfect proof that an artisan’s wines are a true reflection of the person. Like their wines, Gary and Rosella are beautiful, classy people.”                — Gregory Walter, PinotReport