2015 Martin Ray Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1364254 91 points James Suckling

 Aromas of currants, crushed stones, cedar, hazelnuts, and hints of ripe berries. Full body, round and soft tannins and a juicy finish. Chewy and rich. A little old-school. Drink or hold.  (5/2018)

K&L Notes

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, and developed what is now one of the most historical properties in California. Nearly twenty years later, Courtney Benham purchased the brand, and has been committed to the production of artisanal wines worthy of the Martin Ray name. The wine is sourced heavily from Coombsville and Rutherford with carefully selected pieces from some of their most revered premium Napa Vineyard sites. The overall crop was lighter than usual resulting in outstanding quality fruit. Aged for 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels.


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Product Reviews:

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By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/10/2018 | Send Email
Nose is full of a melange of cocoa powder, cassis and very ripe plums highlighted with some barrel spice. This wine reminds me stylistically of Caymus, it has that weight, ripeness and sweetness of fruit that is their hallmark, the Martin Ray perhaps doesn't have quite the weight but it's $40 cheaper! On the palate the richly textured fruit rolls across your tongue leaving a wake of chocolaty cassis. The finish is clean but highlights the toasty sweetness. Have with a plate of BBQ'ed ribs!
Drink from 2018 to 2025

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/10/2018 | Send Email
What a phenomenal price point for a wine that not only bears the Napa Valley appellation name, but the undisputedly great name of the respected producer Martin Ray. California Cab lovers will only find great things to say about this wine. It is rich and supple with cocoa and coffee flavors, and displays great balance in spite of the hardships of the vintage.

By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/10/2018 | Send Email
The nose and palate are loaded with an abundance of kirsch, plum and currants and hints of sweet toast and coca-cola on the finish. Super silky with integrated tannins and a velvety mouth-feel, the Martin Ray Cab is the perfect crowd-pleaser with its smooth body and toasted marzipan finish.

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/4/2018 | Send Email
The Martin Ray winery has been turning out some of the best-value, high-quality California wines every vintage. This particular Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a great example. By sourcing from select vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley, they’re able to craft amazingly delicious Cabernet that have all the hallmarks of much more expensive wines. The fruit for this bottling comes from various valley floor vineyard sites as well as some choice hillside selections on Diamond Mountain. I’ve long been a fan of the Martin Ray wines. My first introduction was the 1997 vintage Saratoga Cuvée which turned out to be one of the best selling Cabernets of the year. The quality, price, and value were without peer. The 2014 vintage was one of our top selling Cabernet’s of last year. The 2015 is its worthy successor. The wine possesses all that dark cassis, black berry, and floral notes you’d expect from wines costing well above $50. Layers of ripe Mulberry, wild violets and spice are framed by well-structured tannins and just a dusting of French oak.
Drink from 2018 to 2025

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/26/2018 | Send Email
Oozing with juicy blackcurrant and blueberry fruit, the Martin Ray is a truly satisfying rendition of a Napa Valley Cabernet. It lands firmly on the side of modern but never quite goes over-the-top and retains its regional character. Fleshy and warm fruit compote on the palate and a sweet lingering finish lead me to one of my favorite drink now styles. It has the advantage of accessibility and drinks like many other Napa Cabs that would be priced twice as much.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2