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, in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mentored by Paul Masson, he took a burgundian approach to his winemaking, and developed one of the most historical properties in California. In 1990 Courney Benham, committed to the production of artisanal wines, purchased the brand, and has continued to produce award winning terroir-driven wines from Northern California.
Chardonnay is quite the versatile grape, as it makes great wine all over the world, from Burgundy to Champagne, to Australia, to (of course) California. The trend in California Chardonnay for the past several years has been leaning towards more freshness, and with less (or more integrated) oak flavors.
Martin Ray Winery takes this to the next step, as this bottling is not aged in either oak or stainless steel. To achieve a balance of ripe fruit and fresh acidity, the winery uses 476-gallon egg-shaped concrete tanks. These tanks allow for continuous movement, keeping the lees (yeast cells) in suspension during the wine's 6 months of aging. The result is a Chardonnay with a complex and full mouthfeel (similar to oak barrels), yet is still framed by intense minerality.
The grapes for this bottling come from several vineyards across the Russian River Valley; truly one of the best regions in the world for growing Chardonnay. Each cool-climate site experiences its own distinct microclimate. Low-laying fog in the morning with ample sun exposure in the afternoon, and cool evening breezes help develop complex fruit profiles but maintain ample acidity. This is a true representation of cool-climate Chardonnay.
Aromas of ripe D 'Anjou pear, honeydew melon, and subtle taffy notes. Fresh squeezed lemon juice and jasmine, with notes of pomelo and fragrant pink peppercorn. High- toned and mineral-driven, yet lush on the midpalate, and a striking salinity on the finish. With locations spanning the valley, each cool-climate site experiences its own distinct microclimate. Low-laying fog in the morning with ample sun exposure in the afternoon, and cool evening breezes help develop complex fruit profiles but maintain ample acidity.