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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Martin Ray Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010

Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • W&S90
  • WE90
14.5% ABV
  • JS93
  • WW90
  • WE90
  • WE90
  • WE90
  • WE87
  • WS90
  • WE91
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3.4 8 Ratings
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3.4 8 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Our Chardonnay is pressed in small lots with whole clusters, then mostly native yeast is used in the fermentation process with very little malolactic in order to retain brightness. The wine is 100% barrel fermented for seven months in French oak; 15% new oak, 85% 1–4 year old barrels. Aging in French oak barrels "on the lees" develops rounder, creamier texture in the wine. A nice jewel-like nose with inviting aromas of fresh juicy pear and spice notes. Rich flavors of lemon, crème brulee, light spice and toast are framed by an oak backbone. Finishes dry and crisp with a pronounced minerality.

FOOD & WINE PAIRING A succulent dish of fresh lobster tails with a rich butter sauce, fettuccine alfredo or a butternut squash soup would be an excellent match for our Chardonnay.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
This citrusy chardonnay carries a lot of tension in its grapefruit flavors, finishing on sweet freshness. It's tight and clean, ready for crab.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
So good for this price. Rich and creamy and ripe in tropical fruit, green apple and pear flavors, with the perfect touch of buttered toast from oak, and all that balanced and brightened with crisp acidity. Just what you want in a California Chardonnay.
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Martin Ray

Martin Ray

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Martin Ray, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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Courtney Benham acquired the historic Martini & Prati winery in July 2003, which is now Martin Ray Winery and the home of their new Tasting Room. The Tasting Room structure, dating back to the 1900's, used to serve as a stable and bunkhouse where Italian immigrants stayed during harvest and crush. The winery also houses a 1 million gallon production facility that is used not only for wine production, but also as a 'custom crush' facility where over 20 clients crush their grapes and produce their wine.

Established in 1881 as the Twin Fir Winery, the historic site is distinguished as the oldest winery in continuous operation in Sonoma County and one of the oldest wineries in California. The winery was able to stay in operation during prohibition by selling sacramental wines by train to Rabbis through a winery in New York. Originally known as Martini & Prati, which was established in 1902, the winery was run by five generations of the Martini family and associated with the local Italian-American community that still includes the Sebastiani's, the Foppiano's, the Pedroncelli's and the Seghesio's.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, The Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river which flows through the region. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, further from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

WWH123557_2010 Item# 110109