Martin Ray Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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, in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mentored by Paul Masson, he took a Burgundian approach to his winemaking, and developed what is now one of the most historical properties in California, known as Mount Eden.Nearly twenty years later, Courtney Benham stumbled upon 1500 cases of Martin Ray wine in a San Jose warehouse. Recognizing his good fortune, and his intent and drive to produce terroir driven wines, Ray’s historical significance and philosophy resonated with him. Courtney purchased the brand, and since 1990 has been committed to the production of artisanal wines worthy of the Martin Ray name.In 2003, Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery made its home in the Russian River Valley, one of the oldest continually working wineries in California. Today, Courtney and his winemaking team devote themselves to Ray’s ideology of making “wines of place”. They are relentlessat telling the story of wine. The depth of the portfolio offers those seeking a unique experience the chance to explore some of the most revered regionsin California. Fromthe Russian River Valley to Napa Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains, there is an abundance of phenomenal growing regions, great farming, and meticulous detail to vintages.
Legend has it that quick and nimble stags would escape the indigenous hunters of southern Napa Valley through the landmark palisades that sit just northeast of the current city of Napa. As a result, the area was given the name, Stags Leap. While its grape-growing history dates back to the mid-1800s, winemaking didn’t really take off until the mid-1970s after a small but pivotal blind tasting called the Judgement of Paris.
When a 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon won first place against its high-profile Bordeaux contenders, like Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion, international attention to the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley escalated rapidly.
The vineyards in this one-of-a-kind wine growing region receive hot afternoon air reflecting off of its eastern palisade formation. In combination with the cool evening breezes from the San Pablo Bay just south, this becomes an optimal environment for grape growing. While many varieties could thrive here, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate with virtually no others, save for a spot or two of Syrah.
Stags Leap soils—eroded volcanic and old river sediments—encourage well established root systems and result in complex, terroir-driven wines. Stags Leap District reds have a distinct sour cherry and black berry character with baking spice and dried earth aromas, and supple tannins.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.