2014 Martin Ray Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
If our Green Valley vineyards are refined courtesans, then our Sonoma Coast Pinot is a gruff, Harley enthusiast in a tuxedo; he cleans up nicely, but there's no mistaking his swagger or tattoos. This wine's strength and bravado comes from the difficulty in taming its burly tannins and rugged origins, on the steep, bare hillsides near Annapolis. The rugged, rocky soil of Stornetta-Hellenbach Vineyard is dry-farmed, allowing the grapes to develop flavor and concentration all on their own. Morning fog that often hangs on long into the day before giving way to warm direct sun, gives the vines and fruit an extended growing season to optimize its distinct terroir.
The 2014 vintage was challenging due to drought, but produced amazing fruit with smaller clusters and lower yields. An ideal harvest with consistently moderate temperatures and weather conditions, allowed the vines and fruit to stay healthy and maintain concentrated flavors and exceptional quality.
The strength of this wine is also the biggest challenge in producing it. The robust tannins that set this wine apart have to be tamed from the start. The grapes are de-stemmed and layered into small open-top fermenters sorted by their clones, with nearly one-third of the lot placed in as whole clusters. During primary fermentation it is punched down three times daily before basket pressing, then going to barrel. At 14 months, this wine is allowed extra time in oak, and is stirred monthly to maximize lees contact and soften the tannins.
There is no lack of beautiful fruit, such as tart pomegranates, and ripe plums. And when coupled with the sweet and savory aromatics of sarsaparilla and curry, the bright acids and plush, solid tannins make this wine a refreshing deviation from the status quo.
Food & Wine Pairing
Our Pinot Noir would pair well with grilled meats, swordfish or cioppino.