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Martin Ray was an early pioneer of California winemaking, today his name and legacy are built upon by, Courtney Benham. Courtney has taken the reins of Martin's estate taking it to new heights. Today the estate is built on the foundation of cultivating relationships with growers across an array of distinctive regions and blending their fruit with traditional and modern winemaking methods to create everyday wines of exceptional beauty. Martin Ray produces quality wines sourced from the best growing regions California has to offer. 2018 Oakville Cab is another testament to the consistency and quality of the Martin Ray winemaking team. This wine is built to last and can be enjoyed right away but the latent splendors will bless the lucky few who picked up a couple of extra bottles to put away for a special occasion. Will it be you?
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, the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mentored by the famed producer of early California sparkling wines Paul Masson, Ray took a decidedly Burgundian approach to his winemaking, and developed what is now one of the most historical properties in California, known as Mount Eden.
Nearly twenty years after Martin Ray’s passing, 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.
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.
Winemaker Leslie Renaud partners with consultant Keith Emerson, and experienced growers to keep her finger on the pulse of each vineyard. Every appellation has a specific set of needs in the vineyard – and in the winery – and expresses a distinctive sense of terroir once the grapes are in the bottle. Leslie begins shaping each wine while it’s still in the vineyard and vinifies each in small lots at our winery in the heart of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. The result has become a collection of award-winning wines with an impressive breadth of terroir.
Aging: 18 months in 55% new French Oak
Tasting Notes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Satiny layers of black raspberry and juicy black cherry, surrounding a center core of lush dark fruit. Earth and wet stone with fervent, fine-grained tannins, and subtle notes of anise, mint, and tobacco. Strikingly clean and fresh throughout, with a long, rich finish.
Lots of currants, flowers, and dry earth on the nose, following through to a full body with tight, juicy tannins that show so much stone and cement undertones. It sneaks up on the finish with a solid structure for aging. Better after 2022. ~95 James Suckling
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