2013 Martin Ray Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon
We sourced our 2012 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon from a collection of tiny vineyard blocks encompassing several row orientations and slopes, all carefully planted to optimize sun exposure. The soil in the Stags Leap District is composed of ancient volcanic alluvial runoff which produces low yields with great intensity and flavor.
The 2012 vintage was widely acclaimed as one of the most ideal growing seasons over the last decade. Consistently moderate weather throughout the season yielded balanced chemistry in the grapes and a bountiful crop. Good fruit set in the spring resulted in heavy crops (30-50% more than the previous year), so more thinning was required in some of our vineyards. The clusters were heavy, but the berries were surprisingly small, which produced concentrated flavors and aromas.
All contributing lots are fermented in small 4-6 ton open top fermenters with at least thrice daily pump overs for cap management. After the wine has finished fermentation and gone dry, it is allowed to rest on its skins for up to a month before being drained and pressed via the gentle basket press. Aged for 18 months in 60% new French oak.
Our Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon is often defined by its subtlety in contrast to the much more immodest mountain Cabernets, with already matured ripe red cherries, floral violets and aromatic baking spices reminiscent of nutmeg and cloves. As is typical of the Stags Leap District Cabernet, it is always the first out of the gate with an early appreciable mellowing of its tannins and forward presentation of its bright red fruit.