Do you like to cook? I love to cook. I am easily inspired by the many awesome food bloggers I follow. I also love finding new recipes on Pinterest and in Cooking Light Magazine. For many years as a cook I felt the need to follow each recipe exactly. I lacked confidence in my abilities to improvise and go my own way. However, for the past many years that has changed. Now, I rarely follow a recipe exactly as it is written unless I am baking. Playing with flavors, spices, and ingredients has become fun for me. There is a reason soups and spaghetti taste better the next day, after the flavors have had time to blend. In a recent Snooth virtual tasting of Murrieta’s Well wines I attended, Mark Angelillo, co-founder of Snooth, compared wine blending to cooking; a perfect analogy.
Murrieta’s Well winemaker Robbie Meyer joined us on the Snooth tasting to walk us through four of his wines, explaining his techniques, vineyards, and vintages. It was truly a wonderful tasting, highly educational, and as you will see below, delicious. Robbie is a blender. Yes, he crafts lovely single varietal wines, such as the Chardonnay we tasted, but he feels “blending is the most exciting part of winemaking.” Robbie takes his love of blending to new heights. For example, The Whip, which we will explore further in a moment, blends six different varietals. In order to craft this wine Robbie makes each of the six varietals into their own single varietal wines, then blends them after fermentation when it is time for aging. Any of these six wines would be delicious on their own. It is through his care and dedication that Robbie crafts such beautiful blends; a true artist of a winemaker.
“…I am truly able to put an artistic touch on the winemaking process. It requires an open mind, experience and patience to try and try again until you get the blend just right.” ~ Robbie Meyer, Winemaker
Murrieta’s Well is one of California’s oldest wine estates. In fact, the estate has been growing grapes since the 1880’s. Louis Mel fell in love with the estate in 1884. He purchased the land and built a gravity flow winery into the hillside. He then transported cuttings of Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc from two of Bordeaux’s most famous wineries, Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux. Today descendants of those original vines still grow on the estate. In 1933, Mel’s friend Louis Wente purchased the estate, the property has been part of the Wente Family ever since. The estate is nestled Livermore Valley in the northern part of the Central Coast wine region of California. All their wines are grown on their estate, where meticulous attention is paid Furthermore, though most vineyards run north/south, Murrieta’s Well estate actually runs east/west, giving the estate and its vineyards unique characteristics and terroir.
“The wines we create inspire people to think about where the grapes are grown.” ~ Robbie Meyer, Winemaker
Murrieta’s Well Small Lot 2014 Chardonnay: This wine poured a golden straw into the glass; aromas of orchard fruit, stone fruit, and tropical fruit met the nose along with soft white floral notes and nutmeg; on the palate it had a silky smooth, almost creamy texture that was well-balanced with zesty acidity, it was rich and textural with a touch of oak as an accent but not a dominating force, mouth-coating long finish; the grapes were harvested from a specific historic block of the estate using Ernest Wente’s original Chardonnay clone; barrel fermented in a blend of new and neutral French oak; indigenous and cultured yeast strains used; aged in same barrels as fermentation; 13.9% alcohol; SRP $44 direct from Murrieta’s Well.
Murrieta’s Well “The Whip” 2014 White Wine Blend: This wine crafted of 29% Semillon, 27% Chardonnay, 18% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Orange Muscat, 8% Muscat Canelli, and 6% Viognier from grapes that were sourced from various historic estate blocks with slightly different soil make-ups, aspects, and conditions; it poured a glistening soft gold into the glass; offering aromas of a basket of just picked summer fruit and fresh cut white flowers, along with added tropical fruit and melon notes, the nose is literally irresistible; on the palate all those wonderful aromas are present in a style that is juicy with just a flirt of sweetness, wrapped in a creamy texture, yet with a firm foothold of acidity, it was a mouth-watering wine with a delicious long, tart, finish; all varietals fermented individually in cool stainless steel tanks; aged for 12 months with 30% in neutral French oak barrels and 70% in stainless steel; 13.5% alcohol; SRP $24 direct from Murrieta’s Well. Robbie Meyer said The Whip is one of the most dynamic blends he has created. It was fantastic!
Murrieta’s Well “The Spur” 2013 Red Wine Blend: This wine was crafted of 40% Petite Sirah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Malbec from grapes that were sourced from various historic estate blocks with slightly different soil make-ups, aspects, and conditions; it poured an almost opaque ruby with violet hues into the glass; vibrant aromas of fresh picked red and black summer berries with dried rose petals, baking spices, chocolate, red licorice, nutmeg, dusty earth, and a hint of vanilla cascade out of the glass and dazzle the nose; the palate was rich and textural, powerful yet approachable, with a hint of smoked meat on the mid-palate that was beautifully balanced with upfront juiciness and ending with round earthiness; fully body with dusty tannins that left a long, persistent finish; a truly delicious wine; 14.5% alcohol; SRP $30 direct from Murrieta’s Well.
Murrieta’s Well Small Lot 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was crafted of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec, 5% Petite Sirah, 4% Petit Verdot, and 4% Merlot from grapes that were sourced from various historic estate blocks with slightly different soil make-ups, aspects, and conditions; it poured a penetratingly deep purple into the glass; its aromas were reminiscent of opening a high quality box of dark chocolate covered cherries, with additional notes of anise, clove, and a tickle of vanilla; great fruit expression that was well-balanced with a dusty earthiness, rich and textural with layers of flavors, dark and lush, young but very approachable, well-structured with balanced acidity and integrated tannins creating a lush mouth-feel and long finish; 14.4% alcohol; SRP $58 direct from Murrieta’s Well.
I highly encourage you to visit the Murrieta’s Well web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wine, and order these high quality wines for yourself!
Thank you to Snooth and Murrieta’s Well for a great virtual tasting!
My Song Selection: The blending of wine is like the blending of sounds to create a song.
Get your own bottles of Murrieta’s Well wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!