Martin Family Vineyards
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Dry Creek Valley
What we say
We got our clever mitts on today’s wine, prior to its national release! How did we do it? We could tell you, but, you know…
QPR WINE ALERT:
This wine will surprise and delight you, with its Quality to Price Ratio (QPR). We don’t often feature wines with a price this low, so you know it must be great.
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Mission Codename: My favorite Martin
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a nationwide exclusive on an exceptional QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Cabernet Sauvignon. If the wine meets or exceeds Wine Spies standards, release to our Operatives only
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Martin Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Virginia Lambrix
Backgrounder: Wines from the Dry Creek Valley, in the northern part of Sonoma County, continue to amaze and impress us. For today’s mission Agent Red was given the difficult task of locating an incredible Cab with an incredible QPR. He found it in today’s wine – and then some. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report for the full briefing
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet, with deep concentration of color to its edges and right through the clear but darker heart of the wine. When swirled, this wine appears tight and springy and it settles fast. When it does settle down, it leaves behind medium legs that run down the glass at varying speeds. Some legs take a long time to appear before they move down the glass slowly
Smell – Lush and layered with mature aromas of smoky mixed dark berries, dark plum and black cherry with currants, soft cedar, spice and dark chocolate
Feel – Soft and round at the tip, then slightly grippy on the mid-palate as soft-then-medium tannins gradually grip the edges of the tongue and pucker the lips
Taste – An interplay of balanced light and dark flavors, this wine first shows off dark earthen current, plum and subtle mushroom, then brighter fruits of current and cherry. These are complimented by an under-layer of cola, dark chocolate and oak
Finish – The wine starts bright and then darkens as soft tannins evolve to medium tannins. Then, flavors take a long time to taper off
Conclusion – For such a young wine and for such an inexpensive wine, I was very impressed by what I tasted here. While slightly youthful in its flavor profile, this is a very balanced with with great flavors, a medium feel and great aromatics. Enjoy now, or stash some away for a few years for an even more enjoyable experience. Decant for at least 20 minutes and you will be rewarded with more softness and better fruit.
I often complain that the life of a Wine Spy is a busy one, fraught with long days and endless toil. I was feeling particularly run last Wednesday, and decided to call it quits early.
I had planned to turn in early, and curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good book. I turned off my phone, armed the alarm and got in bed. Not two pages in, I began to feel terrifically sleepy. I let my eyelids droop closed as I felt myself drift off to sleep. That’s when a bolt of electricity arced through my room! The brilliant flash, and accompanying sizzling crackle jolted me upright.
My first instinct was to dash outside, but I was unable to move. After a moment, I felt my sheet begin to recede from my lap – as if someone were pulling it off of me. An instant later, I realized that I was moving, no, lifting from the bed. I was levitating!
Suddenly, the room was bathed in a brilliant blue light. An instant later, a sound like the crack of a whip sounded. I slammed my eyes shut. When I finally opened them, I found that I was no longer in my safe house. Instead, I appeared to be on… on… _the set of a game show?!
I was seated on a tall stool. Across from me was a being. It looked almost human, but had three eyes, four arms and skin that shimmered as it changed color.
It spoke. In a perfect, over the top, game show host voice:
“We welcome Agent Red to the show today! Tell us a little about yourself, Red!”
The audience cheered.
I blinked at him, and began to answer, “Well, I, uh….”
“Hey, That’s great! Now, you know the rules: Get each answer right and you’ll stay alive. Get one wrong, and you’ll be VAPORIZED! Are you ready to begin? Good!”
“Today’s show is called My favorite Martin. Answer quickly. Here goes!”
A deep disembodied voice said:
“A wild and crazy human”
Agent Red: Steve Martin?
Voice: Correct! He counseled humans to live ‘la vida loca’
Agent Red: Ricky Martin
Voice: Correct! A founding member of the Rat Pack
Agent Red: Dean Martin
Voice: Correct! The eighth President of your United States
Agent Red: Ummm. Martin VanBuren
Voice: Correct! The leader of men who hit orbs with sticks
I began to sweat. This question was far more obtuse than the previous. Then the answer came to me. I hoped!
Agent Red: Billy Martin?
Voice: Correct! Maker of hollow instrument with six metal strings
Agent Red: C. F. Martin and company!
I knew that one because I had just started playing guitar!
Voice: Correct! You now have a choice: Answer this final question, or have your puny planet destroyed. Choose!
Agent Red: I’ll answer… I’ll answer!
Voice: Correct! Since 1996, has been making a highly-prized and nearly perfect fermented libation from small purple orblets. Answer correctly or cause the annihilation of your species!
Agent Red: That’s easy! Martin Family Vineyards in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley!
A klaxon sounded and a purple mist descended. My eyes burned and I held them tightly shut. The noise subsided, replace by a gentle beep-beep-beep.
The sound was oddly familiar. My alarm clock!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location where today’s great Martin Family Vineyards wines were crafted can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Our delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley is redolent with aromas and flavors of blackberry, juicy red cherry, and fresh toasty oak. This hillside vineyard is maturing nicely and produces fruit leading to a full-bodied, well-balanced wine that has a thick textured palate that echoes fresh fruit flavors. Velvety firm tannins lead to a long, alluring finish. This is truly a lovely wine that will age very well in cellar or is very drinkable now.
About Martin Family Vineyards:
The Martin Family Vineyards and Winery was born from our commitment to family and our love of fine wine. When we look back on the times when our family was gathered at the dinner table; or the quiet conversions with friends that lasted well into the evening, wine has always played a memorable role.
It seemed natural that our wine appreciation led us to winemaking. In 1996 we made our first Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. We have since then won numerous awards at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, turning heads in the local wine community.
Our winemaking philosophy is to use only fruit from extraordinary vineyards in order to produce extraordinary wines. The fruit for our wines is primarily from steep, rocky, hillside vineyards that produce super-concentrated, intense fruit flavors. In 1999 we began planting 20 acres of estate vineyard at our winery-ranch. We specifically selected steep, rocky, hillside or hilltop land to plant our own vineyards.
We have a special, unique relationship with our growers that enables us to section off small quality blocks of their remarkable vineyards. This allows us to custom farm, while keeping yields low. We are able to harvest the fruit at the ideal ripeness with optimal brix, acids, and fruit flavors. All of our fruit is hand picked during the cool morning hours to preserve the fresh fruit characteristics.
The flavor-packed fruit is hand sorted in the vineyard and again on our sorting table. Clusters are de-stemmed leaving whole berries, which are placed in small open top fermentation tanks. The fruit is then chilled to 40 degrees for 4-5 days. This process obtains maximum fruit and color extraction. The fermentation tanks are then warmed to 70 degrees to allow the fermentation (conversion of sugars to alcohol) process to begin. During fermentation the skins are gently punched down by hand five times a day for approximately two weeks. This pain staking method insures maximum exposure of skins to juice, enhancing the intense fruit flavors and balancing the tannins of the wine.
Depending on the varietal, fruit, and wood characteristics our wines are aged from 11 to 28 months in French oak barrels, the wood harvested from various forests in France. These unique forests give the barrels specific flavors and aromas that will be obtained by the wine. Barrels are specially selected, coopered, and custom toasted for each individual wine. Each barrel adds a certain dimension to the wine and often a wine benefits from more than one type of barrel wood. When the wine is aged in these unique custom barrels and later blended together we are able to achieve additional layers of flavors and aromas.
We believe the special care we give to our vineyards and fruit are reflected in our wines. Our small-lot production and distinct hand-crafting enables us produce these special wines. We hope you enjoy these unique wines as much as we have while hand-crafting them.