Wine Last Sold on: August 12, 2011
Martin Ray Winery
2010 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
|Region:||California: Santa Barbara County|
|Total Allocation:||New Release|
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The Winery Says:
”Great wine lights a fire in the soul.” – Martin Ray
About This Wine:
Winemaker’s Notes: Our goal is to allow the wine to develop its own depth and distinctive characteristics. Three days “cold-soaked”, gentle punch-downs, fermented at cool temperatures with native yeasts and eight months of aging in French oak barrels develops a rounder, creamier texture in the wine. The 2010 Santa Barbara County Pinot noir has a balanced, ripe aroma profile of juicy, cranberry-raspberry fruit highlighted by a touch of earthiness. The soft, textured palate of inviting bright cherry is layered with flavors of rhubarb, smoke, forest floor and spice. This Pinot has excellent structure and a full finish.
The Vineyards: The grapes for our Martin Ray 2010 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir are grown in the Loma Verde Vineyard in the Los Alamos Valley appellation. This east-west running valley opens up to the Pacific Ocean, allowing the inland flow of fog and ocean breezes, making this region one of the coolest viticultural areas in California, with a long, steady growing season. Pinot Noir grapes from this region have intense berry flavors and rich colors due to the many microclimates of the valley.
Vintage Notes: The 2010 harvest was one of the strangest growing seasons on record. This long, slow, cold season had us about 3-4 weeks behind schedule and a small window of time to bring in all the fruit. Although the season has been bizarre, this will be the harvest of “super berries”. Due to moderate ripening at cool temperatures, the grapes have retained good levels of acid so we have very balanced fruit that has achieved ripeness at lower brix. Therefore, we have lower yields of fruit, with lower alcohol and sugar levels, great color and amazing flavors.
Food & Wine Pairing: Try this Pinot Noir with poached salmon in cream sauce, pork with mushrooms or roasted Cornish game hen.
About Martin Family Vineyards:
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!
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Release Date: April 2011
Brix at Harvest: 24.7
Total Acidity: 0.55%
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Mission Codename: Intensive
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Martin Ray Winery, and procure their newest Santa Barbara Pinot Noir, a wine reputed to be a perfect example of Pinot from the region. If the wine is as good as reported, procure an ample cache for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Martin Ray Winery
Wine Subject: 2010 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County
Winemaker: Bill Batchelor
Santa Barbara County’s Pinot Noir may have become famous by the movie Sideways, but the tradition of wine growing and winemaking dates back to the Spanish missionaries but after prohibition many of the vines disappeared. In the early 1970s vines began to reappear and in just a few years, however unlikely, the region began to develop a reputation for producing exceptional Burgundian varietals rivaling Oregon and New Zealand in the production of exceptional Pinot Noir.
Santa Barbara County’s climate is influenced and tempered by the Pacific Ocean. The county’s soils of sand and clay loam suits Pinot Noir exceptionally well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep magenta hues give this wine a beautifully unique look. Color is deeply concentrated, from core to edge. After swirling, slow, wine-stained tears start high up on the glass.
Smell – Earthy raspberry leaps from the glass, followed by black cherry, young strawberry, softly smoky red plum and cranberry. Underneath, notes of soft spice, cedar and bramble peek out.
Feel – Vibrant and soft, this wine starts of cool and light across the front-palate. Then, very gradually, the wine take on a medium weight as it settles onto the mid-palate. Plush tannins make a gradual appearance, giving the wine depth and structure.
Taste – Bright red fruit leads the charge. Young strawberry, Bing cherry, raspberry and cranberry give way to follow-on flavors of bramble, cigar box, subtle black tea leaf and a hint of black pepper.
Finish – Long and evolving, this wine starts red and then goes decidedly more earthen with fruit flavors gently yielding to bramble and a hint of black pepper – at the very end.
Conclusion – On opening, this wine was somewhat shy on the nose and palate. We decanted for 30 minutes, and were rewarded with quite a different wine! After decanting, new aromas and flavors emerged, and the wine became distinctly softer and more flavorful. One thing that we love about Pinot Noir is that it is the one California wine that shows off Terroir or the sense of place that the wine hails from. This wine is decidedly Santa Barbara, in that it delivers characteristic , aromatics and texture. This is a fantastic Pinot Noir that delivers value way beyond its price. Enjoy this special Pinot on its own, or with a tangy barbecued chicken.
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 2007 Diamond 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 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 goal is to allow the wine to develop its own depth and distinctive characteristics. Three days “cold-soaked”, gentle punch-downs, fermented at cool temperatures with native yeasts and eight months of aging in French oak barrels develops a rounder, creamier texture in the wine. The 2010 Santa Barbara County Pinot noir has a balanced, ripe aroma profile of juicy, cranberry-raspberry fruit highlighted by a touch of earthiness. The soft, textured palate of inviting bright cherry is layered with flavors of rhubarb, smoke, forest floor and spice. This Pinot has excellent structure and a full finish.
Regarding the vintage, the 2010 harvest was one of the strangest growing seasons on record. This long, slow, cold season had us about 3-4 weeks behind schedule and a small window of time to bring in all the fruit. Although the season has been bizarre, this will be the harvest of “super berries”. Due to moderate ripening at cool temperatures, the grapes have retained good levels of acid so we have very balanced fruit that has achieved ripeness at lower brix. Therefore, we have lower yields of fruit, with lower alcohol and sugar levels, great color and amazing flavors.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BILL: Try this Pinot Noir with poached salmon in cream sauce, pork with mushrooms or roasted Cornish game hen.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Santa Barbara such a special place for Pinot Noir?
BILL: The grapes for our Martin Ray 2010 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir are grown in the Loma Verde Vineyard in the Los Alamos Valley appellation. This east-west running valley opens up to the Pacific Ocean, allowing the inland flow of fog and ocean breezes, making this region one of the coolest viticultural areas in California, with a long, steady growing season. Pinot Noir grapes from this region have intense berry flavors and rich colors due to the many microclimates of the valley.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BILL: Preparing for the 2011 Harvest which we expect to begin in early September. Our Enologist, Asst. Winemaker, Vineyard Manager and myself have begun visiting of our vineyards throughout the state monitoring sugar levels, fruit quality, etc. trying to gage when each crop will be ready for harvest.
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.