2016 Martin Ray Estate Clone 37 Pinot Noir
Presenting our debut Estate-grown Pinot Noir, this tiny lot is the very first vintage from our Tower Block, a unique site that is comprised entirely of the Heritage Clone 37. Planted to honor the legacy to our winery's name sake, who brought Clone 37 himself from France in the 1930's, it sits beneath our historic water tower just east of our winery.
Much to the delight of both grape growers and winemakers, the 2016 vintage carried through from beginning to end, with ideal conditions and ideal results. Long-awaited rainfall during the winter and early spring replenished desperate reservoirs and ground water, easing the concerns generated by several years’ worth of drought conditions. The summer was kind, with only a few heat spikes, which then carried over into a true Indian Summer; keeping daytime temperatures above normal, and the mornings foggy and cool throughout the peak month of September, permitting us to take our time in evaluating and calling picks at their optimal maturity. Nature patiently waited for us to bring in our final lots before returning with the rain that has traditionally been the signal for the end of the harvest season.
After yielding only a few tons during its first vintage in 2014, we were looking forward to a large crop that would allow us to better showcase the individual clones unique personality, only to be met with a year that stymied almost all yields across the board. We did however, manage to get enough to isolate our favorite clones. The fruit was cold soaked in a single, four-ton open-top fermenter with only its native yeast to fully accentuate the clonal characteristics. After a brief maceration period, the must was gently basket-pressed to 40% new french oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and 11 months of aging.
The most burgundian of all our single-vineyard Pinots, this beautiful selection is awash in Damascus rose, underripe raspberry, and sweet morello cherry, with a quintessential Russian River fruit driven core. Lemon Balm gives way to red currant, while its poised linear acidity is flanked by structured but supple tannins. There is a definitive minerality, which lifts the palate to make this a truly wonderful ambassador.