2015 Martin Ray Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
East of the Mayacamas range, in the heart of the valley, St. Helena is home to some of the most historic and world renowned wineries. Known for it’s unique terroir, with soil composition of sedimentary, gravel - clay and volcanic deposits. Some of the most historic properties in Napa are located here in the heart of the valley. Perfect growing conditions, with lingering fog and warm
daytime highs in the summer develop nuanced fruit due to an extended ripening period.
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.
Due to both the robust nature of the fruit, and the small amount we receive, we hand-sort our Cabernet Franc, gently destem it, then transfer it to brand new French oak puncheons, each holding less than half a ton of fruit. During fermentation, each puncheon is punched down by hand three times daily until reaching dryness. At this point, by allowing the wine to sit in contact with the skins in conjunction with the oak for up to two weeks, we are able to maximize the extraction of the fruit's aromat-ics and flavor while taming and integrating its tannins. It is then basket pressed and racked to 60% new French oak for 16 months of aging.
This is a wine produced with an appreciation that Cabernet Franc is much more than just a blender. The bouquet boasts layers of delicious ripe blackberry and boysenberry anchored by aromatic fresh tobacco leaves, wild sage, and a hint of white pepper. The mouthfeel is dense, yet juicy, with ideally balanced grape and oak tannins. The toasty, coffee and dark chocolate finish wraps up the palate cleanly.