Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013

Deep ruby-purple color; black cherry, raspberry; cedar on the nose; black cherry, red berries, coconut, plum, black currant tang on the palate.

Dry; grippy tannin, especially on the finish; soft in the mouth; some balancing acidity; oak spice, vanilla, chocolate from oak aging, but it avoids over-done; same way hits some ripe fruit sweetness in the mid-palate while avoiding over-the-top jamminess.

Louis M. Martini is a big-production winery that consistently delivers and often over-delivers. The winery was founded in 1933 by Louis M. Martini. The Martini family’s grape legacy goes back to 1911, when Louis M. made wine in a rented facility. During Prohibition, Louis M. produced sacramental and medicinal wine, as well as grape concentrate for legal in-home winemaking. The L.M. Martini Grape Products Company came to Napa in 1933 as one of the original five Napa post-Prohibition wineries. Martini added acreage in Sonoma’s Mayacama Mountains in 1938. In more recent times, it was led by third-generation vintner Mike Martini.

The Martini family owned and innovated until 2002, when the Gallo family purchased the winery and vineyards, but Gallo wisely kept Martini personnel, including grandson Mike, in the mix. The result is a range of superb wines rooted in two iconic Italian-American family traditions.

With this bottling, Michael Eddy takes over operations after Mike Martini’s retirement. Eddy celebrates his decade of learning from and working with Mike Martini. Ascendant in the Gallo group, Eddy oversees production at Louis M. Martini, William Hill Estate Winery, and Gallo of Sonoma. He also collaborates with Gina Gallo on the Gallo Signature Series. The torch has been passed.

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 is a well-done high-volume, mass market cab. It benefits from decanting. Very serviceable as a pizza night first-bottle pour, or as second/third bottle at bigger meal that started with higher-end stuff. $15-20

Louis M. Martini website

Martini winery entrance

Martini vineyard

Winemaker Michael Eddy

Martini tasting room