Santa Cruz Mountains, CA - February 8, 2013 -- After finishing a stellar 2012 harvest and commemorating 10 years in business together as commercial winemakers, husband and wife team Dan and Thérèse Martin - founders and owners of Martin Ranch Winery - have once again turned heads in the world of wine. Dan's 2008 J.D. Hurley Cabernet Sauvignon has been critically acclaimed as "Best of Class" at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, while Thérèse's 2009 Thérèse Vineyards Lester Family Syrah has been named as one of "The Year's Best US Syrahs" by the editors of Wine & Spirits Magazine in its February 2013 issue.
In celebration of these significant viticultural and oenological achievements, both wines will be featured for tasting at this month's open house at the winery and vineyards, located at the southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains wine appellation near Gilroy. On Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17, the winery will be open for wine tasting, barrel tasting and picnicing from Noon to 4 p.m. each day.
"To Blend?" - How A Delicate and Calculated Fusion Evolved Into A "Best of Class" Cab
Experts, aficionados and all-around lovers of wines each have different tastes, preferences and palates when it comes to narrowing-down what can be considered the best in its class. The consensus of the judges at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition - "The largest wine competition in America" - is that the Martin Ranch J.D. Hurley 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ranks at just such an esteemed level.
But what's the path that led to reaching this highest measure of achievement, when there are so many winemakers making good wine? Dan Martin makes it very clear that, although a determination to make the best wine possible and having ideal fruit are essentials, it's the art of the blending process that's key to his success. "The 2008 vintage had perfect conditions going for it after late spring rains and a long growing season, so by harvest the fruit had uniform sugar and nicely balanced acid." An encouraging start, but Dan then noted emphatically, "In the final days before bottling we blended-in hints of Merlot and Malbec from the nearby foothills with this predominantly Santa Cruz Mountains Cab, enhancing and complementing its characteristics, and, well...wow!...we ended up with an exceptional flavor profile!" That final fusion of flavors - with a big, round mouthful of dark fruit and the perfect touch of wood, produced a sumptuous wine with a nice, long finish - easily fit to be enjoyed on its own - but even more exceptionally as a perfect complement to a wide variety of foods.
"Or, Not To Blend?" - How Letting The Wine Stand Alone Led to The "Best of US Syrahs"
There's a reason why the Martins have their own respective labels. Although they support and contribute to each other's winemaking endeavors, their own personal and distinctive style in crafting their wines is what makes the two brands unique.
Thérèse Martin's 2009 Thérèse Vineyards Lester Family Syrah comes from a beautiful vineyard nestled in the hills of Corralitos, on the coastal side the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking California Central Coast's Monterey Bay. The unmatched terroir of the Lester Family Vineyards boosts the intensity of the Syrah fruit, further enhanced by an unusually long growing season - producing a spicy fragrance and flavor profile of white pepper and blueberry. Preserving these unique characteristics are what led Thérèse to make the decision to not blend any other varietal into the wine. "Blending would just take away from this dynamic fruit's true character. This is 100 percent Syrah and it really stands solidly on its own." Thérèse fervently went on to say, "When that fruit comes through the de-stemmer, you're simply overwhelmed by the bouquet - it's a magical experience!" Consistently getting superior fruit vintage-to-vintage has helped Thérèse make this wine shine every year - producing a robust and satisfying Syrah that, after a few hours of decanting, explodes with life and enhances any hearty meal - especially a sumptuous roast leg of lamb.
Martin Ranch Open House - Award Winning Wine Tasting Information
Come visit Martin Ranch and taste these two remarkable wines and meet the engaging and spirited couple that created them.
Open House Weekend - Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16 and 17, Noon - 4 p.m. A $10 fee for wine tasting each day, with $5 of the fee refundable with any wine purchase of $20 or more.
Wine Club - Martin Ranch Wine Club members are welcomed at no charge both days. Applications for new wine club memberships are being accepted. Wine Club members are always eligible for special wine club-only prices.
Location - Martin Ranch Winery - Located at the southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains wine appellation, at the foot of Mount Madonna near Gilroy and Morgan Hill - an easy drive from the South Bay, Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay area.
Online Purchases, Information and Directions: Visit the Martin Ranch Winery Website at www.martinranchwinery.com.