2015 Martin Ray The Tower White Wine
After happenstance led us to some phenomenal Dry Creek Valley Viognier and Rousanne during the 2013 harvest, we’ve made it standard practice to beg for a few tons each year. Straddling the top of the eastern slopes of the valley just south of Lake Sonoma, the vineyard looks upon both Dry Creek and the Russian River. A wide array of soil types resulting from volcanic activity, uplift, and ancient river deposits, makes the site ideal for the Rhone varietals that make up the base of our Tower White Blend.
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.
Each varietal was hand picked and whole-cluster pressed separately to neutral oak barrels. Different yeasts were carefully selected based on variety and stylistic choices in an effort to maximize the tropical and floral notes that make this such a fantastic summer wine. While the Viognier, which primarily makes up the base of this blend, was allowed to go through full malo-lactic fermentation, other contributors such as Musque Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Rousanne were stopped before, or partially through secondary to maintain their unique, brilliant, fruit-driven bouquets. Tasting Notes The contrasting varietals lend to a complex nose of citrusy blood-orange, ripe cantaloupe, and tropical kiwi, framed by floral peoni blossoms, subtle vanilla crème, and a lightly carmelized finish. With a rounded mid-palate, and balanced acidity anchored in a definitive minerality, this wine makes for an ideal summer wine, both on its own as well as an easy complement to meals.