Sunday, June 26, 2016
Martin Ray, a protégé of Burgundian transplant Paul Masson, railed against the production of cheap blended wines - wines whose producers then passed off, onto the unsuspecting consumer, as varietal wines. (Let me just say, Ray despised Thompson Seedless grapes.) In 1936, Ray purchased Paul Masson's La Cresta vineyard and winery (2000 feet up in the Santa Cruz mountains). Six years later, after selling La Cresta to Seagrams, he developed his own vineyard on another crest to the northwest: his very own vineyard in the sky.
Ray made a bit of a nuisance of himself by insisting that California vintners should make 100% varietal wines - wines that he believed could compete with any of the wines coming out of Europe. He was a bit of a stickler.
Martin Ray was also perhaps one of California's earliest advocates of the use of clonal selections in winegrowing, himself identifying and then propagating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones that were originally brought to America by Paul Masson. Interesting reading - if you're a vine-geek like me.
Today, June 26th, would have been Martin Ray's 112th birthday. Happy birthday Rusty!