Medium ruby out to wind pink edges. Massive woodsy BBQ smoke flows out instantly, blowing off to a steely cherry fruit laid over peat and snow-on-gravel. Crispy old flowers–dried in their vase–provide cover for lush thin alcoholic syrup, rich and nose-filling.
I’ve always said Santa Cruz Mt. Pinot is somewhat of an acquired taste. For many years I found them a bit awkward but as I have gotten older and drinking better and better wines, they have grown into my palate. A diet of cheaper, sweeter, less-structured Pinot will cause SCM to come off rugged, with barnyard and earth almost angular in nature. It’s almost like Santa Lucia Highlands meets Oregon, or Santa Maria Valley meets Anderson Valley, or Burg meets RRV… None of these really work 100%. Pinot is so weird.
Also, I think it important to note here the nod Martin Ray Winery is giving to SCM in keeping a heritage alive–by maintaining this AVA on their roster and continuing homage to the Martin Ray name and his historical singularity with the Santa Cruz Mountain region–despite the obvious logistical dificulties of the winery now being in Sonoma. This isn’t Wine101 so go wiki it or something.
In the mouth, fruit FAR less extravagant than you might have predicted flows in slowly, crisp, clean, restrained pedigreed Pinot Noir, head-up and noble, a grimace of acid covering the countenance of dark matter still writhing in your nose, elegant fruit–never slutty, but ridiculously flirtatious and sexy. Then that Santa Cruz Mountain pine-pitch and mountain burn kick in, bringing a wash of supple tannin finishing in more sweet fruit.
2014 MARTIN RAY Pinot Noir Coast Grade Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains 13.9