Martin Ray Winery

2007 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon • Regusci Vineyards

California: Stags Leap District (Napa)

Offer Expired:Jul 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm
$55.00
Avg. Price
$33.00
(40% off)

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Mission Codename: Jump, No Leap For Joy

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Respond to operative inquiries about the great wines of Martin Ray Winery.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Martin Ray Winery

Wine Subject: 2007 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Bill Batchelor

Backgrounder:

The Stags Leap District in Napa Valley gained worldwide acclaim when, in 1976, wines from the region bested their French rivals in the now-infamous Judgment of Paris. Well known for its Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon thrives here. Today’s wine from our friends at Martin Ray Winery is a rich, delicious and character-filled wine that reinforces the widely-held belief that some of the best wines in California come from the Stags Leap district.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark and dense purple with garnet hues through its almost black and super dense clear core. Garnet along the edges and when swirled, fat color-laden legs ring the glass quickly.

Smell – Medium bold in intensity with classic Cabernet aromas of dark fruit including blackberry, black cherry and dark currants layer over fresh oak notes that includes hints of vanilla. Spice (both pungent and exotic), subtle herb and star anise notes also emerge as you explore the nose of this wine.

Feel – Smooth and dry, this full-bodied wine is well integrated and has rich and plump tannins and good acidity, especially for a relatively young wine, that is expansive and chewy on the palate.

Taste – Rich and generous dark black and red fruit including blackberry, plum and black cherry lead off and are layered over fresh oak notes, soft anise, hints of vanilla, some exotic spice and a touch of classic herbal flavors.

Finish – Long with lingering plump and rich dark fruit that fades softly leaving behind this wines rich tannins that linger for for another minute or two.

Conclusion – The 2007 Martin Ray Winery Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious Cabernet that is drinking remarkably well for being a youthful wine. Classic Cabernet fruit shines on both the nose and fruit forward palate. Give this wine some time to fully reveal itself you you’ll be handsomely rewarded. In fact, this wine is even better on the second day after our tasting!

Mission Report:

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.”


WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Greetings, [winemaker]. We are thrilled to be showing your [wine] 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 2007 Stags Leap District Cabernet comes from a small vineyard block just off the Silverado trail. It’s very consistent year after year—rich flavor, elegant tannin structure and eminently drinkable. We de-stem the berries into small open-top stainless fermenters, cold soak 2-3 days then ferment to dryness. After a short maceration and warming period we press off to about 35% new French oak. Stags Leap District is different from the mountain Cabernet we work from in that the tannins mature and soften much earlier. Combined with gobs of fruit, this makes for a classy Stags Leap District Cab that we’re able to release 6-8 months sooner than the others.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

BILL: Classic pairing of steak with grilled vegetables sounds about right.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Stags Leap District so special?

BILL: There’s a general belief that the cooling afternoon breezes that roll up from the San Pablo Bay help moderate the growing cycle. For geographic reasons, the small narrow valley of Stags Leap District gets more breeze than other Napa-AVAs. The vines have a chance to recover in the evening and results and beautifully round and balanced Cabs. They have the richness and bright fruit you’d expect, but less of the heavy-handed tannic density that comes from other parts of the valley.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

BILL: Everything! We are always blending and bottling, but also now looking toward 2010 harvest and starting to really pay attention to the vines.

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 overthink 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 Stags Leap Cab 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

Awards & Accolades:

SILVER Medal2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition

About This Wine:

The Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for twenty-six months in French oak- 35 percent in new oak barrels and 65 percent is 1-4 year old barrels. A rich, dark ruby color leads you to a soft entry of the ripe fruit forward structure of this wine. Abundant aromas of plum and black currant will seduce and satisfy your palate, which continues with concentrated flavors. The fruit is integrated with smooth, creamy oak flavors leading to a rich, lingering finish.

THE VINEYARDS: Our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from the renowned vineyards of the Stags Leap District in Napa Valley. The grapes grown from Regusci Vineyards are nestled at the bottom of a hillside and are influenced by the distinctive soil composition that consists of old river sediments which have created a unique blend of loams with a clay-like consistency. The soil condition allows the vines to retain less water, which produces low yields of grapes with great intensity and flavor.

VINTAGE NOTES: The 2007 harvest was a week or so earlier this year, but fairly quick, compact and with lower crop yields. Early winter rainfall led to an even growing season with moderate weather conditions throughout the year. Although crop size was down, we harvested beautiful fruit which will produce wines with great intensity.

FOOD & WINE PAIRING: Pair our Cabernet Sauvignon with a Cajun style pan-blackened steak, a hearty winter vegetable polenta or a gourmet burger.

About The 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!

About The Winemaker:

Bill Batchelor – 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 vineyards.

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Release Date: January 2010

Brix at Harvest: 25.6

Total Acidity: 0.58%

pH: 3.74

Alcohol: 14.6%