2016 Martin Ray Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
From high above the fog line in the Sonoma Mountains, to the sunny hillside slopes of Dry Creek Valley, and the warm, sundrenched vineyards of the Alexander Valley, we carefully choose and cultivate each lot to fully reflect the amazing potential of Sonoma County as a Cabernet Sauvignon producer. Relative to other areas of the county, our sites enjoy long, warm summer days, and greater swings in temperature as the nights cool off, which makes for especially lush, concentrated wines.
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.
Our Sonoma County Cabernets are picked overnight, or early in the cool mornings, into ½ ton bins, then sorted and destemmed to small, open-top stainless steel tanks. After cold-soaking for four days, we ferment at warm temperatures, then allow for up to two weeks of extended maceration to fully extract and integrate the fruit’s flavor and tannins. The must is then gently basket-pressed to 45% new French oak to undergo malolactic fermentation and 14 months of aging.
Our blend of Sonoma County’s sub-appellations expresses a wonderful complexity. The fruit-driven bouquet and palate extends notes of wild blackberry, aromatic violets, spicy persimmon, and mild, dry red pepper with a light oaky touch of caramel. This approachable, medium-bodied Cabernet is not to be underestimated with its structured tannins and perfectly integrated oak influence.