2016 Martin Ray "The Tower" Red Wine
Hailing from the same century-old, family-owned ranch as our Forchini Reserve wines, we cherry-picked just a couple barrels from each of the aforementioned lots to accent our base of hearty, earthy Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to serve as our homage to the landmark tower for which we are so well known. Although it may seem uncharacteristic to present a Dry Creek Valley wine as the flagship for our Russian River home, we feel it’s the perfect ambassador of the exemplary quality and diversity from our region, that we devotedly seek out to flaunt vintage after vintage.
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.
The outstanding quality of our Cabernet Franc makes it an obvious target as a blending wine for a myriad of our Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux red varietals. The dense, powerful fruit is gently destemmed and sprinkled with oak dust as it’s layered into the fermenter in order to begin taming the tannins from the moment it arrives. We ferment the wine in small, stainless steel open-top fermenters at warm temperatures, then allow it up to three weeks of extended maceration to fully integrate its flavor and textures. We then gently basket-press the must to 50% new French oak to undergo malolactic fermentation and 16 months of aging.
This purposefully selected blend of Bordeaux varietals offers deep black cherry, black raspberry, and touches of redwood shavings. Its striking structure is balanced by sweet elderflower, while touches of tobacco leaf and orange pekoe linger, balanced by toasty oak.