2017 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.
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 havour crops in and did not suffer loss with our most prized vineyards. Overall, with the highs and the lows, we anticipate great results inquality from this memorable vintage.
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.