Friday, September 25, 2009

2005 Martin Ranch "J.D. Hurley" Merlot, Santa Clara Valley

The Redwood Retreat Valley is in the south west corner of the Santa Clara Valley AVA on the border of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA; while the appellation boundaries generally follow the 600' contour at this point it dips to include the valley into the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Dan & Thérèse Martin planted Cabernet Sauvignon in 1993 and began making small amounts of wine in 1997. Initially the grapes were sold to Ahlgren, River Run and SCMV under the name Harvest Moon Vineyard; they later bonded as Martin Ranch Winery. Their first commercial release was in 2002 with the introduction of labels J.D. Hurley and Thérèse Vineyards wines. Dan is the primary winemaker for the J.D Hurley label.

The 2005 Merlot opens with an earthy, forest floor nose, with some floral and cocoa notes. On the palate there's initially a lot of acidity, but looking beyond that there is good black fruit, chocolate and a little smoke. The tannins are soft, with a medium length finish. Grows on you. 87. Listed at $20, the winery has it on closeout this month for $120 per case.