Martin Ray Winery

Owner(s) Courtney Benham
Web site www.martinray-winery.com
 
Link to this site
Martin Ray Winery

The historic Martini & Pratti Winery was acquired by Courtney Benham in 2003 and renamed Martin Ray Winery. Benham acquired the rights to the Martin Ray label and 1,500 cases of leftover Martin Ray inventory from Ray's family. in 1990. Benham sold Blackstone Winery and focused on Martin Ray. He gradually collected new vineyard sources and retained a number of old sources.

There are two lines of wines: Angeline and Martin Ray. The winemaker is Bill Batchelor and winemaking consultant is Dan Goldfield. The viticulturist is Jerry Quirk. Multiple varieties are produced including a Martin Ray Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County, and Reserve Pinot Noirs from Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, and Sonoma Coast. A more value-oriented line of wines is produced under the Angeline Winery name. Annual production is 45,000 cases.

The tasting room, dating to the 1900s, is open daily (Thursday thru Monday during the Winter). 219 Laguna Road, Santa Rosa, CA. 707-823-2404

Reviewed Wines

2015 Martin Ray Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

$20, screwcap. Estate grown. Clones 943 and 115. Produced by the saignée method by which grapes are crushed to a stainless steel tank, allowed 6 to 8 hours of skin contact, then drained to stainless tanks and fermented with proprietary yeasts. · Moderate pink color in the glass. The most inviting nose of the wines tasted in this feature, offering aromas of blood orange, strawberry, apple, lime and watermelon. Vivid flavors echo the nose with added hints of cherry and pink grapefruit. This is a deftly balanced and refreshing wine that will turn you on to Pinot Noir rosé. Score: 92. Reviewed April 22, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Martin Ray Mill Station Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.41, TA 0.68, $35. Harvest Brix 23.9º. Barrel fermented with select yeast strains. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of lemon zest, banana creme, and cookie dough lead to relatively light, but bright and clean flavors of lemon creme, peach, and pineapple with a hint of vanilla and spice. Slightly creamy in the mouth with a refreshing finish. Score: 89. Reviewed April 22, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Martin Ray Reserve Dark Star Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, $40. Sourced from a small hillside vineyard overlooking the town of Freestone in the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley AVA. 100% de-stemmed, each clone fermented separately and aged individually for 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is reluctant, even over time in the glass. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, no fruit emerged, leaving only toast and vanilla aromas. Not particularly expressive on the palate either, with a mid weight plus charge of blackberry, black cherry and plum fruit flavors accented with vanilla and toasty oak. The tannins and acidity are well managed, but the oak imprint is too aggressive. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Cellaring may bring out more character. Score: 88. Reviewed April 22, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Martin Ray Reserve Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.54, $40. Released January 2015. Sourced from Tina Maria Vineyard and nearby Marty’s Vineyard of Dutton Ranch. Harvest Brix 24.4º. Saignéed for concentration, 3-day cold soak, 10-day fermentation in open-top bins, basket pressed, and aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherry and spice lead to a mid weight plus wine featuring vibrant flavors of dark red and black berries and Damsel plum. A slight riff of earthiness and oak seasoning is complimentary. More uplifting and fresh than the Sonoma Coast bottling with some intensity on the clean finish. Score: 89. Reviewed April 22, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Martin Ray Reserve Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.61, $40. Released March 2015. Sourced from Emeritus Vineyard in Annapolis. Harvest Brix 24.6º. Grapes are de-stemmed, saignéed for concentration, 3-day cold soak, nearly 33% whole cluster, 10-day fermentation in open-top bins, and aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 60% new, with monthly battonage. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of blackberry jam and turned earth. Mid weight plus flavors of créme de cassis, blackberry and subtle dried herbs. Somewhat brooding and thick, with a balanced structure and some cut on the fruit-driven finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine still lacked character with the fruit seemingly asleep. Perhaps cellaring will prove of benefit. Score: 88. Reviewed April 22, 2016 ARTICLE »

2012 Martin Ray Reserve Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.54, $35. Released November 2013. Tasting room only. Sourced from the Tina Marie Vineyard. Harvest Brix 24.4º. 100% de-stemmed, aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very exotic aromas of spice, wild berries and earthy flora. Delicious essence of fresh black raspberries and blackberries that makes a statement on the mid palate. A touch of spicy oak adds interest, the acidity is nicely integrated, and the tannins are soft and composed. A stunning wine that finishes with uncommon length. Wow! Score: 94. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Martin Ray Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.63, $35. Released June 2014. Tasting room only. Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Grandiose aromas of boysenberry jam, spiced black cherries, and earthy flora. Mid to full-bodied cherry fruit graced by sinewy tannins and a touch of oak. A little wild and feral in nature. Very intriguing with a good thrust of fruit on the aromatic finish. Score: 92. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Martin Ray Reserve Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.60, $40. Released November 2013. Sourced from Cooper-Garrod Vineyards. Aged 12 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is really elevating over time in the glass, offering aromas of black cherry, spice, dark chocolate and wet clay. Mid to full-bodied core of fresh dark cherries, black raspberries and plums with an earthy undertone. Fine-grain tannins create a satisfying mouth feel, and a deep, generous dark cherry and berry finish leaves a pleasant smile. This wine becomes more interesting over time, always a sign of age ability. Score: 91. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »



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