A winery the size of Martin Ray makes many releases with large, sometimes huge case productions. So it's always interesting and informative to also look at what they're doing on a smaller scale. Today I'll look at such a selection from them. The Martin Ray 2005 Synthesis Cabernet Sauvignon is made from fruit sourced in three locations. The vast majority of the fruit is from Napa Valley; 67% from Diamond Mountain and 23% from Stags Leap District. The remaining 10% was sourced in the Sonoma Mountain Appellation. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Oak aging was accomplished with 34 months in French barrels. A tiny 103 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $75.
It's important to mention immediately that this wine really needs to be decanted if you're going to drink it any time soon. An hour really helps, two hours would be even better. Once you've given it that time to aerate, this Cabernet is going to really be ready to perform. The nose is very expressive and filled with aromas of ripe summer berries, underscored by hints of vanilla. The Diamond Mountain fruit which represents more than two thirds of this cuvée really shines through with purity and intensity of flavor through the palate. Immense layers of dark berry, plum and bakers chocolate notes are accompanied by flourishes of black olive. Copious earth, black tea, mineral notes and black pepper emerge in a very nice and lingering finish. This wine has firm tannins that soften as the wine evolves, and solid acidity.
By combining fruit from three distinct parts of Napa and Sonoma Martin Ray has created a Cabernet blend with diverse elements that come together nicely as one. While this wine is delicuous now I expect it to evolve over the next 8 or so years and drink well for several after that. I went back to this Cabernet after it had been open for a full 24 hours and found it to be even tastier and more expressive than it was on the first day.