1998 Saratoga Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Saratoga Cuvée is a blend of three distinguished appellations: 42% of the grapes are from the Napa Valley, 27% from Sonoma Mountain, and 31% from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Napa Valley component comes from the valley floor and from Diamond Mountain, where high elevations and volcanic soils result in small, intense berries. Van der Kamp’s vineyard, on the northeast side of Sonoma Mountain, sits at 1800 feet and yields grapes with deep color, firm tannins and great complexity. The balance comes from the Cooper-Garrod Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains where terroir flavors predominate. 1998 had a very late start with weather remaining cool through April and May creating delicate growth and late bloom. With a cooler than normal summer, many vineyards were harvested later than usual. This longer “hang-time” allowed the grapes to develop additional depth and complexity.
The grapes for the 1998 Martin Ray Saratoga Cuvée follow the traditional winemaking techniques perfected by the legendary Martin Ray over sixty years ago. The hand-harvested grapes are gently crushed and fermented in open-top tanks, creating rich structure in the wine. Minimal sulfur dioxide usage preserves fruit intensity and enhances the rich, round tannins. French barrels intensify the complexity and character of the wine. This wine begins with ever-changing aromas characteristic of rich mountain fruit. Ripe cherry and floral notes back aromatics thick with terroir and blackberry fruit. The lively palate is reminiscent of Classic Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon. A bright and robust wine with superb balance and structure, its rich flavors extend long into the elegant finish. Our 1998 vintage continues the Martin Ray tradition of exceptional quality, structure and finesse.This is a special blend of three appellations from Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma County and Napa Valley; when put together they create a luscious hedonistic blend with characteristics of black olives, forest floor, truffle, white chocolate and white pepper. This wine is beautifully structured with a full bodied ripeness, great acidity and a rich, mouth coating finish.