Saturday, February 6, 2010

2006 Downhill Chardonnay, Peter Martin Ray Vineyard

In 1972 Rusty Ray lost control of most of his mountain and its vineyards to his shareholders and creditors. The winery became Mount Eden Vineyards, and today produces some of the finest wines in the state.

The family kept their house and a small vineyard lower down the mountain. With Ray's death in 1976 the land passed to his stepson, Peter Martin Ray. As you drive up the two mile dirt track that leads to Mount Eden Vineyards the first vines that you see, head pruned and sprawling, are the Peter Martin Ray vineyard. Planted in the 1960s there are around 5 acres in total of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The grapes are mostly sold to local producers. Duane Cronin was one buyer; he produced many notable vintages of Peter Martin Ray Pinot Noir in the 1990s. Current purchasers include Denis Hoey's Odonata label as well as Frank Ashton's Downhill.

2006 Downhill Chardonnay, Peter Martin Ray Vineyard
Nose of baked apples, vanilla and caramel. Sharp acidity, nice fruit with mineral notes. Oak is evident without being too obtrusive. Needs time. 88 Listed at $23


Wes Barton said...

The current purchaser of Peter Martin Ray Vyd. Pinot Noir is Nicholson, beginning with '08.