2015 Martin Ray Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
For this vintage, we moved from our northern Annapolis vineyard to a small allotment of grapes from a very highly esteemed vineyard on the southwest edge of the Sonoma Coast AVA, just outside the town of Freestone. Known for its depth, myriad of fruit flavors, and the famous “Freestone Spice” character, this vineyard far exceeded our expectations in producing one of our finest and most interesting Reserve Pinots of the vintage.
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, much earlier), than we've seen in several years, the outstanding quality of the fruit and resulting wines cannot be understated. Harvested September 14
These grapes were hand-picked and sorted to a small open top fermenter, where the lot was allowed to go through fermentation with its native yeast culture to preserve every facet of its unique character. This lot, due to its prominent tannic structure was treated more similarly to a Cabernet, in that we maintained an extended maceration for a full 10 days before basket-pressing to medium-impact barrels to allow native malo-lactic fermentation and 14 months of aging on 45% new French oak.
This wine is truly an iron fist in a velvet glove. Notes of deep red cherry, persimmon, spiced orange zest, raspberry jam and candied cranberry are layered on heartier, earthy notes of dried tea leaf, mountain sage, and sweet cardamom. The body is naturally heavy, but with crisp acidity and silky, refined tannins to bring about a perfect balance.