2015 Martin Ray Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Looming high above the town of Yountville on the southeastern slopes of Mount Veeder, we gratefully procured a small amount of phenomenal Cabernet Sauvignon from the former estate of the late Robin Williams: Pym-Rae Vineyard, named for his children. At 1500 feet elevation, planted in fertile, deep clay-loam soil, the fruit is always late to bloom and late to ripen as it intensely concentrates the flavor and aromas.
The culmination of factors from another drought year in California surprised us with another wonderful vintage. An unseasonably dry and warm winter, which led to an early spring, forced the vines into bud break during peak frost season. However, the spring weather stayed mild during fruit set and led into a relatively warm summer which hastened ripening to unprecedented early harvest dates. Although the crop, overall, was lighter (and much earlier), than we’ve seen in several years, the outstanding quality of the fruit and resulting wines cannot be understated.
This wine was hand-sorted then fermented in a single small open-top fermenter using a yeast that was designed specifically for accentuating the broad range of aromas and flavors that are common in mountain-grown Cabernet's. The dry wine was allowed 28 days extended-maceration on its skins to tame the tannins and ensure optimal integration. After basket pressing, the small lot was sent to 65% new French oak for 18 months for malo-lactic fermentation and aging.
We had high expectations for this wine from the very beginning, and it managed to surpass those by leaps and bounds. This stunning, deep and refined Cabernet is layered with black currant, cassis, rich chocolate-covered cordial cherry, and balanced by savory curry spices, dried sage, and a hint of smokiness. A natural acidity around the edges of the palate balance the brooding flavors and aromas, before wrapping up in a creamy, toffee finish.