2016 Martin Ray Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon
This year’s Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the distinguished mountaintop home of Beauregard’s Bald Mountain Vineyard. Beauregard Vineyard is a very small plot on the south face of Ben Lomond Mountain, made famous by its legacy during the 1971 Judgment of Paris. The site produces intense fruit from small, compact clusters thanks to the ever-present marine influence and rare, white sandy soil. The vineyard enjoys morning and evening fog coupled with long growing seasons, allowing the grapes to reach maturity late in the season, with deep color, concentrated flavors and bright natural acidity.
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.
Small lot fermentations in 4-6 ton open top fermenters with at least thrice daily pumpovers for cap management. As with all of our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons, after finishing primary fermentation, the wine is allowed to sit on its skins for up to a month prior to basket pressing. Aged for 16 months in 55% new French oak.
Never one to shyly blend in with the crowd, this wine’s depth and boisterousness is its most notable strength. With deep hues of ripe cherry layered with ripe plum, raspberry, bramble, and notes of black currant. Characteristic of Santa Cruz, there is a definitive herbaceous tone with notes of cedar and pine. The palate is defined by its solid tannins, bright natural acidity, and graphite-like minerality and firm, silky tannins.