Category Archives: Wine pairing

Evening with Martin Ray Vineyards and Winemaker Bill Batchelor

 

Martin Ray and Angeline wines poured tonight!

I have been a big fan of the incredible wines of Martin Ray Vineyards for many years. In my humble opinion Martin Ray Vineyards makes some of the best wines not only in California, but in the world. Their wines are constant 90-95 point scores in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines year in and year out. And here is the biggest reason I love Martin Ray:

Martin Ray wines are great buys for the quality and priced for the average consumer!

In fact I dare say the overall portfolio of Martin Ray Vineyards and Angeline Vineyards are some of  the very best values in wine today.

My friend Robert Larsen of the Larsen Projekt said he was coming to Dallas, and he invited me to have dinner. I said yes immediately because Robert is such a great guy. He knows his wines, very funny and engaging, and never forgets that wine should be fun and not always so serious. He let me know he was bringing Winemaker Bill Batchelor and samples of the great wines of Martin Ray. So you can imagine that I was beyond excited!

I met Robert and Bill at Dallas Chophouse in downtown Dallas. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Dallas Chophouse, but had never actually visited. So I was thrilled when Robert suggested this beautiful place. The atmosphere was dark and luxurious, and the aged steaks were delicious. I highly recommend the food if you are in downtown Dallas and want a great meal.

I love meeting a winemaker personally. I have to admit I am somewhat of a wine geek. So when I get the opportunity to chat with them and pick their  brains, I am in my own personal heaven.  And I have to tell you; In my opinion Bill Batchelor really knows his craft. He has a very large portfolio to take care of with Martin Ray and Angeline and he personally gets involved in all aspects of the winemaking process. Yet he is very easy to talk to and you can really tell he has a tremendous passion for his craft.

HISTORY:  Martin Ray Vineyards history dates back to 1943 in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains in California. The current home was originally Twin Fir Winery and established by William Hill in the geographic heart of Russian River Valley in 1881. This makes them one of the oldest continuously operated wineries in California. This winery later became Martin & Prati and was well known for good jug wine.

The current owner Courtney Benham purchased Martin Ray in 1990. He then moved the brand and custom crush facilities at Martin & Prati and purchased the property. He then changed the name to Martin Ray in 2007. In the coming years Courtney modernized practically every facet or production, and also turned the property into one of the most beautiful wineries in the area. I have made attempts to visit on my winery trips in the past, and I cannot wait to visit on my next trip!

We began the evening tasting through the Angeline Vineyards wines. These are wines that Martin Ray produces and are more “Value Priced”.

Angeline Vineyards

2016 Angeline California Rose of Pinot Noir:  Both whole-cluster & saignee method used to produce this dry rose. Floral notes along with watermelon, nectarine, and ruby red grapefruit. Crisp and acidic. Perfect for the pool or beach!

Angeline Rose

2016 Angeline Sonoma Coast County Sauvignon Blanc: Mostly Russian River Valley fruit with Dry Creek sourced as well. Not grassy like some SV, more Sonoma-like. Aromas of white peach, nectarine, and green apple. Minerals are present, but not overwhelming. Crisp, clean and lingering finish of green apple and peach. Ave retail will be in the $12-$14 range so a great summer everyday wine.

2016 Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir: Fruit sourced from Mendocino County, Russian River Valley, and Carneros.  Silky tannins and med light body.  Juicy strawberry, raspberry, black fruits, and cherry cola dominate with a clean finish of caramel and black fruits. Nice wine!

2016 Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir

Martin Ray Vineyards

2015 Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountains Bald Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay: Fruit is 100% from the steep hillside vineyards of Bald Mountain. Cool climate and high elevation define this chardonnay with crisp acidy and an underlying minerality. This is a graceful and elegant wine with fruit notes of key lime, golden apple, asian pear with crème brulee and hints of vanilla. 40% new French Oak, and lees are sired bi-weekly for first year to enhance complexity. 250 cases produced. Ave retail $35

2015 Martin Ray Bald Mountain Vineyard Santa Cruz

2015 Martin Vineyards Green Valley of Russian River Valley Chardonnay: Fruit from possibly my favorite AVA in Sonoma; Green Valley AVA. Only 300 cases produced so if you get your hands on this buy several! Hand picked, whole cluster pressed. Racked in French Oak barrels for fermentation. Lees stirred bi-weekly to maximize mouthfeel. Aged 12 months on 40% new French Oak. Traditional and elegant chardonnay. Complex layers of green apple, honeydew melon, key lime, grapefruit, and vanilla cream. NOT a butterbomb! Crisp, med-light body, great acidity and long finish. AT $30 suggested retail, not cheap but worth every dime.

2015 Martin Ray Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Primarily sourced from the incredible Dutton Ranch in the heart of the Green Valley AVA. Primarily Dijon Clones from Marty’s Vineyard and Hallberg Vineyard. Basket pressed and put into barrel for 12 months in 50% new French Oak. Anyone that knows me has heard me claim: “Russian River produces some of the finest Pinot Noir in the world”, and I believe this to be true! Med light body, bouquet and notes of cranberry, red cherry, boysenberry, Jasmine and vanilla, baking spices. Juicy palate and fine silky tannins. This is a truly great example of Russian River Pinot Noir, and I love this wine. Average retail is $40, and this may be a little rich for some. I for one think this is a steal considering this is Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir! Only 250 cases produced.

2015 Martin Ray Green Valley or Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

2014 Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon: Fruit comes from the tiny plot on the South face of Ben Lomond Mountain, from the distinguished Bald Mountain Vineyard. This site produces small compact clusters, and the long growing season allow the grapes to reach maturity late in the season, with deep color, concentrated flavors, and bright acidity. This is a big bold cabernet, with notes of ripened black cherry, boysenberry, mushroom, lavender, and dark chocolate. Healthy solid tannins and great acidity and graphite minerality give a strong hint of long cellar time possible for this big wine. In fact I would love to have this wine again in 10 years because it should age beautifully. Only 450 cases produced. Suggested retail of $75.

2014 Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

 

2014 Martin Ray Synthesis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cab Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Fruit is sourced from the best of the best from vineyards in Rutherford (35%), Stags Leap District (30%) and Diamond Mountain (20%) for a very special “Synthesis” of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon! This Cali Cab begs for a big juicy steak, and that is what I enjoyed this wine while cutting into a big delicious juicy Ribeye at Dallas Chophouse. Dried herbs, black cherry, and baked plums on the nose. Chewy tannins are evident, but not nearly overpowering as you normally find in mountain cabernet. Blueberry, black cherry, red plum, along with ever so slight  oak and dried figs. I highly recommend this cabernet sauvignon.  At $50 suggested retail that is a great buy for a true Napa Cab! 2200 Cases total production.

2014 Martin Ray Synthesis Cabernet Sauvignon

Thank you again Robert Larsen and Bill Batchelor for a wonderful evening, and thank you Dallas Chophouse for the wonderful dry aged steak!

Winemaker Bill Batchelor and Robert Larsen

And thank you to my followers for reading and sharing this post. If you would like more information on any of the wines poured and how to find them please contact me at friscokid8758@yahoo.com.

And please…leave a comment below so I will know you were here, and come back from time to time!

Terry Hill is the TEXAS WINEAUX!

 

 

Dallas Wineauxs Wine Pairing Dinner!

The Dallas Wineauxs got together for a terrific 5-Course Wine Pairing Dinner recently. The incredible table d’hôte was hosted by Samuel Rickords of ReDoux Wine, and the brand new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Uptown Dallas.

Alan Schulz of Ruth's Chris. Photo by Swan Photography
Alan Schulz of Ruth’s Chris. Photo by Swan Photography

Our wine group;  “Dallas Wineauxs” get together 5-6 times a year to talk about wine, pitch our latest ‘wine finds’, enjoy each others company, eat great meals  and wine pairing with our menu, and of course share many bottles of wine. Sometimes it is at each others homes with a theme for the night. Other times it is meeting at a restaurant such as Toulouse French Bistro for an extended lunch. Once in a while we get invited to join in on a great experience such as this incredible Wine Pairing Dinner!

Menu Reoux Wine Dinner
Menu Redoux Wine Dinner

Samuel and Amanda Rickords are owners of Redoux Wines. Redoux is a young and growing wine distributor based in Dallas, that specializes in representing a very select and distinctive group of “boutique wineries” from California. Often Samuel has known the actual winemakers and their families for decades because he grew up in Sonoma Valley, California. He and his wife Amanda met when he was with Ledson Winery in Kenwood, CA. Amanda was blessed to be a Texas Girl that loved Cali Wine County. On a girls trip to Sonoma years ago Amanda and Samuel met,  fell in love, and were married in the vineyards soon after. A real fairy tale you could say! Amanda convinced Samuel that Texas was the place to be (her child and family were in Dallas). So he moved to Dallas to begin a family and soon started Redoux Wines with Amanda. They have been succesfull in this endevour of the heart, mainly because they really are what my dear Grandfather used to call “Good People” that have a real passion for wine and food. And Samuel is always more than willing to share this passion with anyone that will listen!

Samuel & his wife Amanda strongly believe in contributing to a legacy beyond just selling wine. As proud supporters of Honor Courage Commitment (HCC), Samuel & Amanda seek to incorporate veterans into the business. In addition, Samuel provides wine education for “22 Fellows”–a unique training program to maximize veteran talent to grow the US economy and build local communities. For more information about HCC, please visit www.honorcouragecommitment.org.

Lineup For Tonight!
Lineup For Tonight!

Our venue for the night was the private “Wine Room” at the all new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Uptown Dallas. The Manager on duty Alan Schulz was very gracious, accommodating, and informative. In fact Alan was raised in New Orleans, LA a few blocks from the original Ruth’s Chris!

Michelle & Melanie enjoying the wines! Photo by Swan Photography
Michelle & Melanie enjoying the wines! Photo by Swan Photography

A little history of Ruth’s Chris Steak House:

In 1965 Ruth Fertel, a divorced mother of two, mortgaged her home for $22,000 to buy a small 60-seat restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana named “Chris Steak House”. Shortly thereafter, a fire forced her to change the original location and she renamed the restaurant, “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.” In 1977 at the urging of a loyal customer she granted the first franchise. Now there are over 140 worldwide. Ruth died in 1990, but the legend continues, as does her recipe for success:

“Insist on making a toast. Make big plans, but live spontaneously. Live and dine without regret.” ~Ruth Fertel~

The Uptown area in Dallas is the most happening scene anywhere in the DFW area. Lots of young professionals live in the luxury condos, townhouses, and high rise residences throughout the very upscale area between the American Airlines Center (home of the Dallas Mavericks), and Downtown Dallas. It is the perfect place to build a great steak house! Although a little difficult to find at 1900 Cedar Springs Rd, it is well worth the extra effort. They only opened the doors to the public a couple of months back, and many of the staff left great jobs at other upscale restaurants to join the Uptown Ruth’s Chris because they believe they are part of something special. And you can see it in the way every employee bent over backwards to be helpful in every way. We had a terrific young waiter that was very knowledgeable, engaging, and always ready to help the dining experience become more pleasurable.

The interior is elegant, stylish, and tasteful. Trust me when I say you will be impressed!

Looking for a terrific spot for Happy Hour Uptown? Ruth’s Cris Uptown’s $8 Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl Happy Hour is featured Sunday-Friday from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the large open bar and includes tasty appetizers, cocktails, and impressive wines for $8 each!

Samuel met with Manager Alan Schulz and Executive Chef Willie Singleton beforehand to pair the wines from Redoux with the 5-courses served.

Analyzing the color and structure. Photo by Swan Photography
Analyzing the color and structure. Photo by Swan Photography

Let me congratulate all involved in the pairing of wines and food…outstanding!

First Course: Spicy Crispy Lobster paired with Sojurn Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. The Crispy Lobster was slightly spicy but sweet, and the acidity and crispness of the very lightly oaked 2013 Sojurn Chardonnay Sonoma Coast matched wonderfully.

Second Course: Saffron Veal Ravioli paired with 2013 Burt Cellars Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. Ravioli stuffed with spicy Osso Buco veal and mozzarella cheese with a white wine demi-glace matched perfectly with the spicy and slightly earthy pinot noir. BRAVO!

Third Course: New Orleans BBQ Shrimp paired with 2012 Rubica Red Blend from Portugal. I never would have paired slightly spicy New Orleans style BBQ Shrimp with the slightly rustic blend of: Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragones and Petit Verdot. But this was the most impressive pairing of the evening. The red wine mellowed out and let the food shine beautifully!

Forth Course: Tenderloin Skewer Salad paired with 2007 Rust Ridge Cabernet from Chiles Valley, California. Tenderloin Beef marinated in Teriyaki and slightly sweet paired very well with the Rust Ridge Cab with notes of Cherry, cola, cassis, and blackberry. In fact the sweetness of the tenderloin really soared with this ready to drink Chiles Valley Cabernet!

Fifth Course: Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake and Dark Chocolate Bark paired with 2008 Robledo Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County. I dearly love chocolate paired with a great cabernet sauvignon, and this was absolutely perfect with the light Chocolate Cheesecake! The Dark Chocolate Bark had sea salt with cranberry infussed that was really tasty by itself, but the cranberry clashed badly when paired with the Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the ONLY disappointment of a wonderful evening, as I would have only served the chocolate cheesecake and skipped the bark.

Spicy Shrimp paired with Rubrica
Spicy Shrimp paired with Rubrica
Bert Street Pinot served with Ravioli
Bert Street Pinot served with Ravioli
Redoux Wine Diner Main Course. Photo by Swan Photography
Redoux Wine Diner Main Course. Photo by Swan Photography

A terrific time was had by all at this incredible Wine Pairing Dinner, and I know that I speak for all the Dallas Wineauxs when I say; if you are in the Dallas area, especially around the Uptown District you really should drop by the new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Uptown!

Bravo Samuel, Asher, and Alan!

Thank you for visting and reading the ramblings of Terry Hill, the Texas Wineaux! Please leave a comment below and check back from time to time for new posts.

Twitter: @friscokid49

Instagram: @texaswineaux1

**Photos are from Asher Swan of Swan Photography, and he can be reached at asher-swan@live.com or www.swan-photography.com . Thank you for the great photos!