Auction 14 | Lot No. 29
5 cases produced
When Martin Estate's Puerta Dorada Vineyard was planted in 1996, the old dirt road that ran through the center of the property leading to the forgotten H.H. Harris Winery was plowed under. The Martins chose to plant this section of the vineyard with Clone 6, a very low-yielding yet inherently intense Cabernet Sauvignon. The last time wine was made on the estate premises was in 1908/09, when Georges de Latour leased the massive stone chateau and employed its winemaker, Henry Stice, to make his first vintages.
One hundred years later, Martin Estate winemaker Frederic Delivert decided to leave two rows of Clone 6 hanging on the vine longer than the rest of the vineyard, in order to make an exclusive Premiere Napa Valley Cabernet that explodes with fruit, perfectly ripened tannins and complexity. The grapes were handpicked into small micro-bins, then sorted and fermented separately in a new French open-top barrel by Seguin Moreau. Made by nature and guided gently, Premiere Row celebrates the union of past and present. Taste and experience a wine that is as big and powerful—yet elegantly structured—as a pure Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet can be.
The wine spent 19 months in 100% new French oak.
- pH: 3.77
- Sustainably produced
- Wine is 100% estate grown and bottled
||very full bodied
Winemaker, Martin Estate
Frederic Delivert has been Martin Estate’s winemaker for more than four years. He holds a Masters Degree in Agriculture, with an emphasis in enology, from the Ecole Supérieure d’Agricultrure de Purpan (ESAP). One of Napa Valley’s rising stars, he has worked both sides of the Atlantic, including Domaine Croix Maro and Domaine de La Valmale in France.
Frederic believes that wines should be a pure expression of the soils and seasons in which they are grown. It is this respect for the vine, coupled with his uncompromising standards and spare-no-expenses winemaking approach, that make him a perfect fit for Martin Estate, where he is making the best wines of his career.
Country born: France
Education: Master's Degree in Agriculture, with an emphasis in enology, from the Ecole Supérieure d’Agricultrure de Purpan (ESAP)
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years
Winemaking should reflect the vineyard and vintage, the soils and seasons in which the fruit is grown.
Q&A With the Winemaker
Q: Premiere Napa Valley wines are innovative and allow each winery to showcase the region's sense of exploration in fine winemaking. What kind of exploration did your Premiere Napa Valley wine allow you to do?
A: 1. Martin Estate’s “Premiere Row” auction lot allowed full-time winemaker Frederic Delivert to push the envelope in both the vineyard and the cellar. In the Estate’s Puerta Dorada Vineyard, Frederic chose to leave two rows of clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon hanging on the vine longer than the rest of the vineyard. This rare clone consistently achieves "physiological ripeness” – that elusive goal of seeing your fruit’s tannins, sugars and acids all ripen in harmony, rather than one before the other – and would be considered a winemaker’s dream, were it not for the vine’s exceptionally low yields. The longer hang time allowed the fruit’s seed tannins to reach optimal ripeness, which resulted in a wine with smooth, integrated tannins and zero hardness.
In the cellar, Frederic chose to ferment the lot in a brand new open top French barrel from Seguin Moreau. Frederic found the aromatic release he achieves from this hands-on attention to be irresistible. With its rich, dusty spice and berry bouquet, the 2008 Premiere Row did not disappoint.
Q: What was your inspiration for this offering?
A: 2. The historic chateau and winery pays tribute to its 19th century winemaking roots, so it seemed fitting to everyone to exclusively showcase a clone with an equally illustrious pedigree. After more than a decade of fruit production, the Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 has proven how perfectly suited it is to the Rutherford terrain, a terrain that is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignons.
Q: Fill in the blanks: I chose to make this wine from this particular ______________ because ______________.
A: I chose to make this wine from this particular Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot because Clone 6 consistently proves itself as perfect for Martin Estate’s Rutherford soils and climates.
Q: Why should a wine lover have a bottle of this wine in their cellar?
A: Martin Estate wines highlight the finesse and flavor of their Rutherford terroir. The 2008 Premiere Row is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of the highest quality that will age beautifully, yet is immediately accessible.
Q: Any quote, poem, lyric you feel represents this wine?
A: “A Classic is Forever.”®