2017 Martin Ray Coast Grade Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains

2017 Martin Ray Coast Grade Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains

91 pts | James Suckling

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The Vineyards

Our Santa Cruz Mountains Reserve Pinot Noir comes from Coast Grade Vineyard,located in the high stony slopes of the coastal side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Attentively farmed by Jim Beauregard and his family, these are steep hillside vineyards that enjoy morning and evening fog from the San Francisco Bay and perfectconditions for reaching optimum ripeness while maintaining balanced acidity.

Vintage Notes

After several years of drought, California and its growers were delighted to receive record setting rain and a return to normalcy during the winter season. Cooler temperatures offered the vines a longer winter slumber, pushing back budbreak to mid-March, with spring temperatures carrying into May. Heat spikes in early summer led to veraison beginning early July. Hotter than average days brought ripening, but diurnal shifts overnight gave the fruit much needed time to recover. Harvest came abruptly mid-August with lower than average yields, but complex fruit with expressive aromatics. October 2017 will forever be remembered historically, as Northern California was swept with severe fires. While there was devastation throughout Napa and Sonoma, we were fortunate enough to have our crops in and did not suffer loss with our most prized vineyards. Overall, with the highs and the
lows, we anticipate great results in quality from this memorable vintage.

Winemaking Notes

This wine followed our protocol for standard, high-end Pinot Noir fermentation, in small stainless steel open-top fermenters using punch-downs to manage the cap. It is basket pressed following primary fermentation, then put to barrel to begin its aging process. This Pinot Noir is aged for 14 months in 40% new French oak.

Tasting Notes

Always our most unique appellation, the Santa Cruz fruit sets itself apart with deep wild cherry, fresh pomegranate and black raspberry layered on the appellation's definitive earthy notes of herbaceous sage and spices reminiscent of red chili powder and nutmeg. With more highly structured tannins than its Russian River Valley counterparts, this wine has focused acidity, and a silky layers and clean, concise finish.