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C. Donatiello Winery

Owner(s) Chris Donatiello
Web site www.cdonatiello.com
 
Link to this site
C. Donatiello Winery

Christopher Donatiello, a former New York based wine and spirits distributor, has teamed with investment banker Bill Hambrecht to totally transform the site of the former Belvedere Winery on Westside Road in Healdsburg. Belvedere Winery was acquired by Bill Hambrecht in 1989.

The spectacular 14.5-acre estate had an organically farmed vineyard, a contemporary wood and glass hospitality center and tasting room designed by noted winery architect and landscaper, Ken Munson, and an organic garden that introduces visitors to flora that have a natural affinity for the aromas found in the Burgundian varietals. The existing winery facility was upgraded and outfitted with the latest in winemaking technology. A soft launch of the label occurred in April, with the official Grand Opening celebration taking place on June 21, 2008.

The focus of C. Donatiello Winery initially was small lot Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the organic estate vineyard and specially chosen vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Two very talented winemakers were on board at launch. Winemaker Troy McEnery has years of experience at Gallo Sonoma and Belvedere, and Associate Winemaker Webster Marquez developed his skills at Williams Selyem and now is partnered with two other winemakers at Anthill Farms. The entire operation was very classy with considerable thought given to a distinguished image and tasteful presentation of the wines. Unfortunately, in 2012 the winery was closed and became the VML winery. Chris Donatiello was in limbo for awhile but has landed on his feet.

In January, 2014, after fours of working together, Bill Hambrecht and Chris Donatiello parted ways and Chris took over complete ownership of the C. Donatiello brand. Webster Marquez is still the winemaker and many grape contracts such as Hervey, Tina Marie, Windhorse and Peters vineyards are still in place. The production is no longer at the previous facility on Westside Road. Tasting is available at Vin Couture on the Plaza in Healdsburg.

A new website was launched in February 2014. The wines are sold on the website.

Reviewed Wines

2011 C. Donatiello Winery Riddle Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 52 cases, $N/A, sold out. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. A bright wine with a spring in its step. Aromas and flavors of dark Bing cherry and raspberry with smooth, supportive tannins and a good cut of acidity. Seamless and easy to like. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the black cherry fruit had drifted to the ripe side. Score: 89. Reviewed October 11, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 C. Donatiello Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.63, 513 cases, $40. Sourced from multiple vineyard sites throughout the appellation. Aged 10 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Oak overwhelms the fruit in this wine which is light and crisp on the palate, featuring red cherry and raspberry fruit flavors with a citrus-imbued finish. Score: 85. Reviewed October 11, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 C. Donatiello Winery Block 15 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.68, 127 cases, $48. A blend of vineyards featuring clone 777. Aged 10 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose hits all the high notes with effusive aromas of dark cherries and complimentary seasoned oak. Delicious essence of Bing cherries with a hint of spice and red licorice flavors. The mid palate richness carries through to the sleek, long finish. The wine is beautifully composed with supple tannins and good acidity. Thoroughly satisfying with easy accessibility and my clear favorite of the C. Donatiello Pinot Noirs in 2011. Score: 91. Reviewed October 11, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 C. Donatiello Winery Tina Marie Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.44, TA 0.62, 126 cases, $55. Aged 10 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose offers enticing aromas of black cherry, rose petals, tea, forest floor and cedary oak. The tasty essence of fresh Bing cherries has a hint of spice and conifer in the background. The tannins are supple and the wine sports a citrus-infused, sweet cherry finish. Score: 88. Reviewed October 11, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 C. Donatiello Winery Hervey Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 101 cases, $60. The 10-acre Hervey Vineyard is located above Atascadero Creek in the hills just south of Sebastopol. Soils are Goldridge. Aged 10 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose has some reduction upon opening which disappears by the following day when re-tasted from a previously opened bottle. Ripe black cherry aromas accented by charred, smoky oak. Deep Bing cherry and cola flavor with a firm, but balanced tannic backbone. The wine is underlain with crisp acidity producing a tangy, citrus-driven finale. This wine warrants more time in bottle to better integrate the oak. Score: 87. Reviewed October 11, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Donatiello Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.1% alc., 220 cases, $20. · A fine casual drink featuring tropical and tart lemon flavors accented with a very subtle grassy note. Crisp and bright. Good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 C. Donatiello Middle Reach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 86 cases, $28. To be offered to the winery’s wine club in the fall of 2010. Primarily sourced from Maddie’s Vineyard. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Very shy aromas of crushed red strawberries and raspberries, leading to a medium weighted cherry and berry core which has some persistence on the fruity finish. Needs more time in the bottle. Good Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 C. Donatiello Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 1,825 cases, $38. Sourced from four vineyards. Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light in color in the glass. The aromas pick up interest over time offering scents of red fruits, red candy, herbs, graham and cut flowers. Light on the palate, with bright acidity and a pleasing oak-kissed cherry lift on the finish. Good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 C. Donatiello Floodgate Vineyard Block 15 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 400 cases, $48. Clone 667 from 12 year old vines. Aged 10 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · The most flamboyant aromatics in the lineup offering a melange of bright red cherries and berries with a hint of spice, sawdust and fragrant flowers. Moderately intense and pleasingly soft in the mouth with red fruit flavors, enhanced by notes of red licorice and sweet oak. Like all the 2008 C. Donatiello Pinot Noirs, this wine has lively acidity. Very good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 C. Donatiello Floodgate Vineyard Old Vines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 115 cases, about $55 when released in October 2010. Martini clone. Aged 10 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple robe in the glass. The nose really draws your attention with intensely perfumed dark stone fruits and dark chocolate. Impressively harmonious in the mouth with dynamic dark red and black fruits, kissed by toasty oak, and wrapped in fine-grain tannins. A wine to contemplate for its uniqueness and striking flavor that only old vines can offer. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 C. Donatiello Maddie’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 150 cases, $62. Aged 10 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · Light in color but nicely endowed with lovely delicate aromas of slightly confected red cherries, strawberries and cranberries. A discreetly rich and tasty Bing cherry essence is wrapped in gossamer tannins and focused by brisk acidity. A wine of elegant charm that typifies the C. Donatiello style. Very good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 C. Donatiello Wind Horse Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 45 cases, $72. This vineyard is located southwest of Sebastopol. Aged 10 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · A little more depth of color than the preceding wines. A riper fruit profile on the nose which is very expressive. Smoothly textured and moderately rich on the palate, this wine has a delicious array of dark red fruits including raspberries ending with a big flourish of fruit. There is a well-structured tannic backbone with a good grip of balancing acidity. This one can go the distance and will pick up charisma with more time in the bottle. Very good (+). Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 C. Donatiello Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.2% alc., 230 cases, $24. From the Crinola Vineyard in Santa Rosa. · A very fruity version of Sauvignon Blanc without the grassiness that can creep in to this varietal. Interesting green apple, pear and mineral notes with acidity nicely corralled. I am not a big Sauvignon Blanc fan, but I enjoyed this wine immensely and thought it compared favorably to Merry Edwards’ version which is my favorite. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 C. Donatiello Christie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 210 cases, $38. · Raised in neutral oak. Austere and steely, with lively acidity. Styled after Chablis. Bring on the oysters. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 C. Donatiello Floodgate Vineyard Block 15 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 198 cases, $55. Clones 667 and 777 from the hillside block of this vineyard located in the northern Vine Hill area. · A marvelous nose composed of bright aromas of red cherries and berries, Provencal herbs, vitamins and a touch of oak. Plenty of body and weight with layered flavors of sweet dark cherries and raspberries exotically spiced and framed beautifully by supple tannins and restrained acidity. Built for the long haul with more body and spice than Tyra Banks on the Victoria Secret runway. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 C. Donatiello Maddie’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 175 cases, $62. From the organically certified estate vineyard in front of the winery. Aged 10 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · This wine rewards the patient. A bit shy initially, the nose blossoms in time with intense berry jam aromas and a riff of oak. Very tasty spiced cherry and berry flavors pulled into focus by fine acidity and ripe tannins. Not as rich as the Floodgate Vineyard bottling, but very satisfying in its own right. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 C. Donatiello Hervey Vineyard Green Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 515 magnums, $142. Grapes from this vineyard were previously part of a blend for a large winery. This 9-10-acre vineyard in southwestern Sebastopol consists of 8-year-old vines planted to clones 115, 667 and 777 at a very cool site with plenty of fog. The result is an extra 3 to 4 weeks of hang time. Farmed by John Hervey, a Spanish teacher and dedicated winegrower. This wine comes from a block of 667 clone only. Aged 10 months in 100% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · This is one of those wines you keep coming back to. Bright and complex perfume of Bing cherries, fresh herbs, vanilla and soft oak. Stone fruit-driven rich middle palate that has plenty of structural power yet retains an appealing elegance. The finish is persistent like a dreamy three hour movie that never ends. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 C. Donatiello Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 3,400 cases, $28. A blend of several vineyards, primarily Orsi Vineyard. Slight oak influence. · This is fruitier than the above Chardonnay with an understated fullness and richness. Subtle spice, butter and citrus notes. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 C. Donatiello Orsi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 225 cases, $38. The best barrels. Orsi Vineyard is a 30 year-old dry-farmed vineyard on Eastside Road. 50% new oak. · This is a penetrating, full-bodied wine. Brioche, lemon peel, stone fruits, and smoke are profiled. Excellent density and enough acidity to predict a long life ahead. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 C. Donatiello Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 2,750 cases, $48. A blend from the estate owned Floodgate Vineyard (clones 667, 777) on Trenton Hills Rd (not to be confused with the former Floodgate Vineyard in Anderson Valley), and estate owned Maddie’s Vineyard (Pommard clone), both in the Russian River Valley. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels. · A moderately light wine with admirable finesse. Classic Pinot perfume of red fruits and savory herbs. On the palate there are red stone fruits veering toward raisin. The wine finishes with bracing acidity. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 C. Donatiello Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 2,750 cases, $48. A blend from the winery’s two estate vineyards. · A charming if delicate wine displaying aromas and flavors of red cherries and strawberries, herbs and spice with a soft and pleasing texture and a clean and vibrant finish. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 C. Donatiello Floodgate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 175 cases, $57. 35 year-old vineyard planted to Martini clone (UCD 6). Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · This one was saved for last and no wonder. It has the most striking aromatic and flavor profile which only old vines can offer. Deep on the palate, packed with copious red and black fruits, and nicely complimented by spice and herbs. Despite the evident power, the wine retains an admirable elegance. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 C. Donatiello Maddie’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 185 cases, $61. Maddie’s Vineyard is 3½ acres of Pommard clone Pinot Noir planted in 1998. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Attractive aromas of Bing cherry, baking spice and wet oak. Dominated by redder fruits nicely spiced. Supple and plump in the mouth. Well-concealed tannins and a nice acid lift on the finish. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »