2016 Martin Ray Sauvignon Blanc Dutton Ranch
Located just north of the Dutton family home ranch, with its back to Green Valley Creek these young vines, which have only produced their third vintage, have again exceeded our expectations and earned their rank among our single-vineyard tier. Grown on the flats of the Green Valley, the vineyard's excellent exposure, consistently cool temperatures and well-draining soil add up to the perfect trifecta to showcase the unique character of the Musque clone Sauvignon Blanc.
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.
Careful timing is required when harvesting the Musque clone of Sauvignon Blanc, because too early can lead to green, unripe flavors, while harvesting beyond peak physiological ripeness can mean losing the floral characteristics that set the clone apart. This vineyard was hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed early in the season, then put to neutral French oak barrels with a passive yeast strain intended for slow, cool fermentations and maintanence of the fruit’s natural distinction. Fermentation is stopped immediately upon reaching dryness, and not allowed to go through malo-lactic fermentation in order to preserve its bright tropical and floral aromas.
The cool climate and specific clone exemplify this wine’s aroma of zesty lime, gooseberry, with under ripe kiwi and tangerine pith, accented with hints of pomelo on the finish. Its acidity plays out on the edges of the palate as clean and concise, while accenting its vibrant midpalate and fresh finish.