Wishing for something new in your glass?
A unique variety or take on a well-known grape?
Toss a coin in Murrieta’s Well and you’re sure to find something delicious.
I recently participated in a Snooth Virtual Tasting of Murrieta’s Well wines. I was grateful to be selected, along with several writers from around the country, to taste while listening to Winemaker Robbie Meyer describe the process and poetry in the valley and in the bottle. I was impressed before it even began. The wines arrived carefully packaged, which isn’t unique. But the beauty of the packaging began my intrigue.
One of the oldest wineries in California, Murrieta’s Well is located in the Livermore Valley. It began in 1884 when Louis Mel came with a love of wine and cuttings from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux vineyards in France. The French tradition continues with many of the grapes grown and classic Bordeaux combinations. Mel compared the soils of Livermore Valley with the gravel soils of Bordeaux.
We began with a white blend, The Whip, composed of 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon, 30% Chardonnay, 7% Viognier, and 3% Muscat Canelli. The last grapes give it a very aromatic nose. This wine hits every note: Stone fruit, apple, floral and subtle spiced oak notes. It could pair with a wide variety of dishes or on its own.
In a surprising move, we jumped to the other blend, a red. Typically a tasting will stick with red or white but they did things a little different by jumping to The Spur. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petite Sirah, 14% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Aptly named, this wine has a feisty nose, rich black fruit, spicy oak, and an expansive finish.
We jumped to the palate-cleansing and pleasing Dry Rosé. 55% Grenache and 45% Counoise, a new grape for me. Hand-picked, whole cluster pressed, aged in a variety of pieces for a month, then transferred to stainless. Strawberry, melon, floral, minerality and acidity in balance.
The 2016 Muscat Canelli was a fun surprise. We grow this in Texas and the profile is much different. The Livermore Valley produced a wine with honeydew, tropical, honeysuckle, and fresh basil. I loved the crisp, wispy weight of this wine. Perfect for the summer heat.
Cabernet Franc often strikes me as the rebellious sibling of Cab Sauv. Dark and brooding, spicy and bold. This wine captures these qualities elegantly. Sturdy tannins without overpowering the red and black fruit, white pepper, herbs, warmed with oak. Love this grape and Meyer’s treatment of this 2014 small lot wine.
The 2014 Merlot is enhanced by small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. It is a powerhouse of flavors. Bing cherry, cocoa, full and elegant. A structured wine that maintains a supple mouthfeel. Nothing shy about this Merlot.
Over and over, Meyer talked about working with the land, balancing fruit and earth, honoring the expression the fruit in this region. He carefully adjusts and nudges in the winemaking process without changing the message of the valley. It is evident in his wines. Perhaps there is magic in that wishing well, perhaps in the soil. Either way, make a wish at Murrietta’s Well and discover the magic in the glass.
Many thanks to Snooth for inviting me to participate in this tasting. Thank you Murrieta’s Well and Robbie Meyer for taking the time to share your wines with us.
I was invited to participate and received the wines as media. I received no other compensation. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Two photos used with permission are from the Murrieta’s Well site as indicated with the copyright watermark.