2015 Martin Ray "The Tower" Red Wine
Hailing from the same century-old, family-owned ranch as our Forchini Reserve wines, we cherry-picked just a couple barrels from each of the aforementioned lots to accent our base of hearty, earthy Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to serve as our homage to the landmark tower for which we are so well known. Although it may seem uncharacteristic to present a Dry Creek Valley wine as the flagship for our Russian River home, we feel it’s the perfect ambassador of the exemplary quality and diversity from our region, that we devotedly seek out to flaunt vintage after 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 18th
The outstanding quality of our Cabernet Franc makes it an obvious target as a blending wine for a myriad of our Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux red varietals. The dense, powerful fruit is gently destemmed and sprinkled with oak dust as it’s layered into the fermenter in order to begin taming the tannins from the moment it arrives. We ferment the wine in small, stainless steel open-top fermenters at warm temperatures, then allow it up to three weeks of extended maceration to fully integrate its flavor and textures. We then gently basket-press the must to 50% new French oak to undergo malolactic fermentation and 16 months of aging.
This purposefully selected blend of Bordeaux varietals showcases a complex bouquet of dark Morello cherry, currant, blackberries, and aromatic hints of dried lilac. Grippy but supple tannins lead into spicy, crushed pepper and finishes with a touch of vanilla. The lean structure of the Cabernet Franc, and the food friendly nuances of the Petit Verdot coupled with ripe fruit of Malbec make this wine a surprisingly easy drinker with a plush, dense mouthfeel without overly authoritative tannins.