Marcassin, meaning “young boar” in French, is the personal project of the legendary winemaker Helen Turley. Turley has a resume few can even dream of, including serving as the winemaker for Peter Michael, Colgin, Bryant Family, and Martinelli. Her mark on the modern California wine industry can not be overstated. Helen Turley runs Marcassin with her husband John Wetlaufer, who farms the estate vineyard.
Marcassin is a small production winery sourcing most of its fruit from a twenty-acre estate on the Sonoma Coast. For years, production was small enough that the wines were made at the Martinelli facility before an estate winery was completed in 2010. Grapes were also purchased from two vineyards even closer to the Pacific Ocean along the Sonoma Coast up until the 2010 harvest when the estate vineyard came fully online. Helen Turley has shown she can create beautiful wine with almost anything California grows, yet Marcassin only produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The estate itself is planted extremely dense while low yields and meticulous farming keep production focused on quality, with total production hovering between 2,500 to 3,000 cases a year. High elevations and long hang times help Turley develop her signature depth and complexity without sacrificing freshness or longevity. Stylistically these wines tend to be rich and well equipped for extended aging. Lack of fining and filtering add to the midpalate while extended barrel aging develops complexity.
Similar to many high-end California wineries, these small production wines are highly allocated, with 80% of the wines going to a mailing list that takes years to enter. Marcassin is notoriously private, with little in the way of a public presence. The lucky few who find a Marcassin wine in a restaurant or on the secondary market should not hesitate to try these remarkable wines.