What We Say 2009 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from our good friends at Martin Ray Winery is truly a fantastic wine that deserves a spot in your cellar and on your table.
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Mission Codename: A Most Beautiful Sight
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Martin Ray Winery, and secure an allocation their newest Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Martin Ray Winery
Wine Subject: 2009 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Bill Batchelor
The Sonoma Mountain AVA was shaped by ancient volcanic activity. The mountain, which consists of obsidian, marine deposits and ash, rises high above the Sonoma Valley. Vineyards on Sonoma Mountain benefit from being above the fog line. This allows for even, slow ripening – resulting in complex Cabernet Sauvignon with elegant and complex fruit flavors
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and beautifully dark garnet with a clear but dark heart. The color remains dense to the very edge of the glass and when swirled, the wine settles quickly and leaves thin legs of varying speeds on the side of the glass.
Smell – Classic Cabernet aromas shine through in this brightly complex wine. Focused dark black and red fruit layered with both hot and baking spice, toasted oak with vanilla hints and soft notes of green herbs and wild anise.
Feel – This dry and full-bodied wine is rich and smooth with plush well developed tannins that grip the palate and linger into the finish. This wine’s balanced acidity and soft mineral notes blend with a touch of spice to keep the feeling fresh and clean all the while holding onto the fruit perfectly.
Taste – Generously flavors of blackberry, plum, black cherry and currants lead the way and are followed by a supporting case of vanilla toasted oak, pleasant baking spice along with a touch of pepper, hints of smoke, soft green herbs and bittersweet chocolate also make their appearance.
Finish – This wine finishes very long and extremely clean with the focused and rip fruit gently fading leaving behind notes of vanilla toasted oak, spice and the soft textured tannins, spice and minerality that dries the palate invite another sip.
Conclusion – The 2009 Martin Ray Winery Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is simply a fantastic, well developed and delicious wine. This wine’s inviting nose of classic aromas invites you in; its plush, smooth and well developed but still well structured palate stands up; delicious and generous flavors and a finish that is just exceptional. A real winner from an operative favorite winery. Pair this wine with grilled rib-eyes, prepared Florentine style (olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sea-salt and pepper) and a special friend and you’ll have a recipe for a perfect evening.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Bill Batchelor
WINE EDUCATION: No formal winemaking education. Degree in Anthropology. Learned most of what he knows by having excellent opportunities in wineries that make all types of wines at different price points.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Bill began his career in the wine industry in 1996 working in the cellar at a small Dry Creek Valley winery specializing in Rhone and Italian varietals.
Bill soon moved on to the Russian River Valley to work for a large custom-winemaking facility. Initially hired to oversee a hard apple cider program, Bill quickly learned the fundamentals of commercial wine production – fermentation, aging, fining, blending and bottling – in a fast-paced, high-volume environment. Over the next five years Bill managed winemaking programs for a diverse portfolio of wineries.
In 2001, Bill concentrated his efforts on managing wine production for the rapidly growing Blackstone brand, eventually relocating to Sonoma Valley to oversee their new reserve micro-winery.
In July 2003, Bill joined Courtney Benham at his new Russian River Valley winery and has since worked to develop the Martin Ray and Angeline family of wines. Today, Bill and his team are dedicated to producing high quality, distinctive wines sourced only from premium
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Work with the vineyards to grow the best possible fruit. If you begin with a great foundation, the rest of the winemaking should be relatively simple.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Strive to constantly improve and refine your work.”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Bill Batchelor. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BILL BATCHELOR: You’re welcome. I am happy to be able back with you, again – and to have another chance to share some insight into what we are all about at Martin Ray.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BILL: The reality is I was at a time in my life when I needed a proper, steady job. I managed to get a seasonal cellar position at a small Dry Creek Valley winery. On my third or fourth day there I was tasked with filling all their empty barrels with water in preparation for harvest. Pretty mindless work. So I found a huge stack of wine trade magazines and enology books in the winemaker’s office. I spend two days up there in the fixed barrel racks reading everything I could, completely fascinated. When it was all done I realized this industry had a lot of potential.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BILL: A local winemaking consultant named Kerry Damskey has taught me a lot about how to make wines in different styles.
RED: We are very familiar with Kerry Damskey’s fine work. Tell me, who do you make wine for?
BILL: I make wines for people that enjoy drinking wine. I strive to deliver something they will enjoy and remember. You can’t please everyone all the time, but that is the goal, and I like to over-deliver on flavor and value. The trick is to realize there are different types of consumers at different price points with varying palettes and expectations, and I enjoy crafting wines for every type of wine drinker.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BILL: Our Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for twenty-six months in French oak barrels—40 percent in new oak barrels and 60 percent in 1–4 year old oak barrels. This hearty, bold Cabernet has a deep ruby hue with rich aromas of cedar, plum and festive Christmas spices with a background of vanilla oak. An elegant wine with layers of dark chocolate, toast, deep black cherry and smoke give the wine great depth and balance. The concentrated and well-integrated flavors of this cool-climate Cabernet Sauvignon follow through with a long, rich finish.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BILL: Enjoy our Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled steak rubbed with your favorite spices or sautéed lamb chops and butternut squash.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Mountain region such a special place for Cabernet Sauvignon?
BILL: The grapes for our Martin Ray Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on the slopes of Van der Kamp Vineyard, which rises 1400 feet above the valley floor on Sonoma Mountain. A small percentage of the grapes for this wine are also selected from the Eagle Point Vineyard in Mendocino County which sits at 1600 feet elevation. The Sonoma Mountain vineyards nestle on a northwestern slope, where mornings are typically brisk and often blanketed with fog. Warm summers and cool winters bless this region with fairly mild weather throughout the year.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BILL: Now that the 2011 Harvest has come to a close, we are busy securing all our wines in French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for a long winter’s nap. Although this is the longest harvest season on record for us so far with our Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon fruit being the last grapes to arrive on November 9, we expect the vintage of 2011 to have wonderful acidity, low alcohol levels and intense, concentrated flavors.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BILL: Most are meant to be enjoyed at any time and with friends, dinner or whatever. I advise people not to over-think wine – just drink and enjoy. We do make several Cabs (including the one you are featuring today) which could be laid down for a few years, but in general, our wines are ready to drink upon release. There are 1000s of wines available these days, so if you don’t like one, try another. Exploration is half the fun.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BILL: Please enjoy our 2008 Reserve Chardonnay and come pay our tasting room a visit! Thanks.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Martin Ray Winery in Santa Rosa can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
A mountain vineyard is the most beautiful sight on earth. – Martin Ray
About This Wine:
The grapes for our Martin Ray Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on the slopes of Van der Kamp Vineyard, which rises 1400 feet above the valley floor on Sonoma Mountain. A small percentage of the grapes for this wine are also selected from the Eagle Point Vineyard in Mendocino County which sits at 1600 feet elevation. The Sonoma Mountain vineyards nestle on a northwestern slope, where mornings are typically brisk and often blanketed with fog. Warm summers and cool winters bless this region with fairly mild weather throughout the year.
The 2009 harvest was fantastic throughout California. Abundant spring rains and a temperate growing season produced excellent fruit quality. The beautiful Indian summer weather that followed mild rain in early October allowed the grapes to reach optimum maturity.
Our Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for twenty-six months in French oak barrels-40 percent in new oak barrels and 60 percent in 1-4 year old oak barrels. This hearty, bold Cabernet has a deep ruby hue with rich aromas of cedar, plum and festive Christmas spices with a background of vanilla oak. An elegant wine with layers of dark chocolate, toast, deep black cherry and smoke give the wine great depth and balance. The concentrated and well-integrated flavors of this cool-climate Cabernet Sauvignon follow through with a long, rich finish.
Food & Wine Pairing: Enjoy our Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled steak rubbed with your favorite spices or sautéed lamb chops and butternut squash.
About Martin Ray Winery:
Courtney Benham acquired the historic Martini & Prati winery in July 2003, which is now Martin Ray Winery and the home of our Tasting Room. The Tasting Room structure, dating back to the 1900’s, used to serve as a stable and bunkhouse where Italian immigrants stayed during harvest and crush. The winery also houses a 1 million gallon production facility.
Established in 1881 as the Twin Fir Winery, the historic site is distinguished as the oldest winery in continuous operation in Sonoma County and one of the oldest wineries in California. The winery was able to stay in operation during prohibition by selling sacramental wines by train to Rabbis through a winery in New York. Originally known as Martini & Prati, which was established in 1902, the winery was run by five generations of the Martini family.
Thirty 11,000 gallon old-growth redwood tanks dating back to 1904 are still used at the winery and can be viewed during our winery tour. Much of the winery storage areas have been converted to barrel rooms where we store the majority of our wine. We primarily use French oak barrels due to its superb quality and oak accents that give the wines vanilla, spice and often herbaceous aromas and flavor. We use most of our barrels for 5 to 6 years, depending upon the percentages of new, neutral and old wood we want to use on a particular wine.
Beginning a new era for Martin Ray Winery at this historic site in the Russian River Valley has given us the opportunity to create a home for the Martin Ray and Angeline wines in a very unique and inviting setting. With our large production facility, prime location and the traditional, antique charm of the winery we have all the elements we need to provide us with growth and success. Visit us soon to experience Martin Ray Winery first-hand!
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Release Date: July 2011
Brix at Harvest: 24.6
Total Acidity: 0.61%