91 Points, Wine Enthusiast 94 Points, James Suckling
“Dense but not ripe aromas of black fruit, crushed lava rocks, baked earth, and savory herbs show on the nose of this bottling. It’s very dry on the palate, as is typical for the region, with charred wood, dried blackberry, charcoal, and dark cocoa flavors. The sandy tannins will keep this alive for decades. Drink now–2037.” Wine Enthusiast
Always a stark contrast to our Napa Cabernets, this wine’s depth, and boisterousness is its most notable strength. Ripe black cherry, cranberry skins, bramble and notes of bay laurel. A definitive herbaceous tone with notes of English thyme, and chili peppers. Bright acidity and graphite-like minerality with a firm, silky tannins and a subtle toffee finish.
Beauregard Ranch, Fellom Ranch
Both producing small, compact clusters, each site produces fruit that is intense and concentrated. High elevation, coupled with evening fog and the ever-present marine influence makes for ideal growing conditions.
Ideal conditions from beginning to end, offering ideal results throughout. Foggy and cool mornings with minimal heat spikes.
Fermented in small 4-6 ton open top fermenters, with thrice daily pump overs for cap management. Upon finishing fermentation the wine is allowed to rest on its skins for up to a month. Aged in 60% new French oak for 16 months.
Release Date: August 2019
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Brix at Harvest: 22.6°
Total Acidity: 5.8 g/L
Included in the Box
2x 2017 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
12x 2017 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
The name Martin Ray resonates deeply in the history of California Winemaking. Martin Ray was a pioneer, dedicated to crafting single varietal, region specific wine from 1943 through 1972 in Saratoga, in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mentored by Paul Masson, he took a Burgundian approach to his winemaking, and developed what is now one of the most historic properties in California, known as Mount Eden.
Nearly twenty years later, Courtney Benham stumbled upon 1500 cases of Martin Ray wine in a San Jose warehouse. Recognizing his good fortune, and his intent and drive to produce terroir driven wines, Ray’s historical significance and philosophy resonated with him. Courtney purchased the brand, and since 1990 has been committed to the production of artisanal wines worthy of the Martin Ray name.
In 2003, Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery made its home in the Russian River Valley, on the edge of Green Valley at one of the oldest continually working wineries in California. Today, Courtney and his winemaking team devote themselves to Ray’s ideology of making “wines of place”, by sourcing from hillside and valley floor fruit, they are relentless at telling the story of each exceptional appellation and vineyard.
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I somehow lucked out and got to labrat this, and without seeing the price or any of the details on this offer while sampling and taking notes I can say this probably one of the better bottles WD has sent me to provide notes on over the last few years.
I’m a sucker for Santa Cruz mountain cabernet, its got that more lean almost feminine side of cabernet that the big Napa / Sonoma cabs don’t have.
Martin Ray Winery
2017 cabernet santa cruz mountains
Color: Deep clear purple with a little light showing through at the edges.
Nose: A moderate young nose of cassis, a bit of black cherry, some vanilla and not much in the way of alcohol. Oak seems very restrained but still present. The nose is primary red/black fruit at this point.
Taste: very dry, full bodied, good/great acidity, moderate drying tannins, the wine seems well balanced. Very flavorful, notes of cassis, black cherry (slight sour note), a bit of other red fruit, vanilla, but not much alcohol or oak that is noticeable. I tried this on its own after a dinner of Mexican food.
Very solid cabernet from a well known region for excellent cabernet, this bottle is very young and im sure will age well. I don’t love the use of the screw cap here, i’d prefer the traditional cork for the heavier style bottle like this one.
Nice job WD!
I’m thinking that lovers of the big Napa cabernets wont love this but I did.
@CorTot Good review, but I’ll take the screw cap every time over a cork for a wine that I am likely to have for a while. (My cellar is overflowing.) My argument is if a screw cap is good enough for a 100-year old Scotch, it is good enough for a moderately priced wine. YMMV.
@jmdavidson1 We’re a couple of hours south in Bloomington, if we had any travel planned up that way in March, we’d be in. Former Glen Ellynite, so know right where you are. We’ll keep watch for future IL splits!
I have always liked Santa Cruz Mountain AVA Cabs - Ridge Montebello being the archetype and almost always the best exemplar.
The descriptions of this are reminiscent of descriptions of some young Montebellos…
On that basis, I’d say it’s definitely worth trying if you’re serious about Cab and have the dosh and the room.
The biggest question with a screw cap is whether it has been designed to allow aging - many claim this can be done now. ‘‘Twas not always so: I remember the early experiments where a white (French Columbard) from the early 1930s was opened in the late sixties and still tasted alike a fresh young wine.