2015 Martin Ray Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon
The Ben Lomand AVA, whose history dates back to the 1860’s was first established by the Beauregard family in 1983, and their home ranch is the only vineyard producing grapes out of this sub appellation, made famous by its legacy during the 1971 judgement of Paris. At 2600 feet with dramatic shifts in temperature, this vineyard produces fruit that is never one to shyly blend in with the crowd.
The culmination of factors of another drought year in California surprised us with a 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.
Small lot fermentations in 4-6 ton open top fermenters with at least thrice daily pumpovers for cap management. As with all of our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons, after finishing primary fermentation, the wine is allowed to sit on its skins for up to a month prior to basket pressing. Aged for 18 months in 60% new French oak. Harvested September 19th.
Never one to shyly blend in with the crowd, this wine’s depth and boisterousness is its most notable strength. With deep hues of ripe cherry layered with mulberry and crushed blackberry with underlying savory notes of roasted peppers, kalamata olive, and tobacco leaf. Characteristic of Santa Cruz, there is a definitive herbaceous tone with notes of Earl Grey tea and dried mountain sage, offering a very welcome wild side. The palate is defined by its solid tannins, bright natural acidity, and graphite-like minerality with a deep, dark chocolate finish.