2016 Martin Ray Synthesis Pinot Noir

2016 Martin Ray Synthesis Pinot Noir

90 Pts | James Suckling

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The Vineyards

Presenting our debut Synthesis Estate-grown Pinot Noir, this tiny lot is the very first vintage from our own 12-acre estate vineyard comprised of 7 different clones grown in highly regarded Goldridge soil just to the east of our winery. The largest section of our vineyard, which slopes down toward the Santa Rosa Laguna is planted with several famous Dijon clones including 667, 777, 115, and 828, along with a tiny corner of the lesser known, but beauti-fully intense 943. Our smaller vineyard, which we refer to as "The Tower Block" is comprised entirely of Clone 37, which is our legacy to our winery's name sake, who brought the vines himself from France in the 1930's. 

Vintage Notes

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 of drought conditions. The summer was kind, with only minimal spikes, carrying over into a true Indian Summer. The fruit experienced 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. HARVESTED AUGUST 24TH 

Winemaking Notes

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 each clone’s 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 (667, 943 and our Martin Ray Heritage Clone). The clones were fermented in a single open-top fermenter, layered in one at a time to fully integrate the each individual personality. After a brief maceration period, the must was basket-pressed to lowimpact 40% new French oak for 12 months of aging. 

Tasting Notes

The most burgundian of all our single-vineyard Pinots, this beautiful selection is awash in Damascus rose, underripe raspberry, and sweet morello cherry, and savory cedar. This wine offers 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.