Martin Ray is not just the name of a winery. It is associated with some of the greatest history of wine in California. Ray purchased part of the Almaden Wine Company in 1936, but sold shortly after to Seagrams. He established his namesake winery, Martin Ray, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Everybody thought he was crazy. "Santa Cruz is too cold to grow grapes and make good wine," they said.
Boy, were they wrong! Before there was Mondavi, before there was Fetzer, Sebastiani or even Mayacamas, there was Martin Ray. He began by growing some French grape most people had never heard of called Pinot Noir. But it wasn't long before everybody heard of it. To say he was a visionary is to put it mildly. He literally created the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation and drew the likes of other pioneers like Mt. Eden, David Bruce and, believe it or not, the Smothers Brothers.
Ray passed away in 1976, and the label disappeared until purchased in 1990 by the founders of Blackstone in Sonoma. Like so many of these name-only purchases, they could have used a famous name to put out sub-par wine. Thankfully, that is not the case here.
What is the case is that the name still stands for outrageous quality. They source some of the finest fruit in the state to put in the bottle. Here you have the quintessential Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with enveloping black fruits and spice surrounded by a robe of vanilla richness. Truly worthy of the Martin Ray name.