Our selection is a single vineyard Pinot Noir produced by the Martin Ray Winery in Sonoma. The grapes come from their flagship vineyard, Tower Block, which they consider to be their finest. One taste of the wine, and it's hard to argue.
Martin Ray was one of the early Pinot Noir pioneers in California, founding his winery in the early 1950s. Back then, Pinot Noir was known as the great grape of Burgundy, but only a handful of areas outside of Burgundy produced it. After all, the Burgundians had a hard enough time with this grape, why create more problems?
But, the lure of Pinot Noir is like no other, and Martin Ray was more smitten than anyone. He grew his in the cool mountains of Santa Cruz and showed the critics that great Pinot Noir could be made in California. His mark left a lasting impression on those he tutored. And even later generations who learned from his experience.
One of them is Lindsay Haughton, an enology graduate from Fresno State whose introduction to Pinot Noir was early and encompassing. Though she never met Martin Ray, his imprint is on the wines she crafts in his name. Her delicate touch shines through here, as the flavors are round and gentle, but still offer a powerful expression of the grape.
The result is a classic rendition of Pinot Noir offering delicate nuances of cranberry and cherry expanded by vanilla and spiced apple. It would glide through swordfish, an olive tapenade, or rack of lamb with mint pesto.