Not too long ago I was contacted by Snooth to participate in a virtual tasting. A week after that, five wines from Murrieta’s Well showed up on my doorstep to be tasted on July 10th. Now, I enjoy wine, but five bottles in one evening is pushing it a little bit as a solo drinker. In order to not be entirely sloshed by the time we opened the third bottle, I decided to throw a girls night. I put together one of the best cheese boards I’ve ever made and put out a ton of other small bites, including a little bruschetta with shrimp and other options that were light and easy for a summer night. So, we sat outside, tasted our wines, and I played the poor host who had her computer open the entire time to follow along with the tasting.
With a bunch of wine before us, as soon as my guests showed up I opened the 2017 Small Lot Sauvignon Blanc, which runs for $35. One of the first varietials picked on the estate every season and picked during the first non-drought year since 2011, these grapes produced a weighty wine that was unlike many Sauvignon Blanc I’ve previously tasted. On the nose, this was bursting with notes of tropical fruits with a small touch of white florals. On the palate, it followed through with fruits like pineapple, mango, grapefruit, and early season peaches. It was a very full wine that was light on the acidity. I will say this: it was my least favorite bottle of the evening. But that’s fine! I’ve said this a million times on this blog, but just because a wine might not be for me, it could still be for you. Do you love tropical fruits? French style Sauvignon Blanc? Aromatics for days? Then you may enjoy this one. It’s not a poorly made wine; it’s just not gonna end up back in my fridge any time soon.
Sticking with the whites, the second bottle we tried was the 2016 The Whip White Wine Blend, which consisted of 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon, 21% Chardonnay, 12% Orange Muscat, and 10% Viognier. This blend had a more mixed reaction than the first; only one of my girlfriends was not a fan while one said that she would definitely buy a bottle. On both the nose and palate, there were strong notes of stone fruits like apricot and white peaches, as well as a nice light acidity the provided a crisp yet not lingering finish. I could imagine this going well with grilled chicken, sushi, and other light meats. With an SRP of $24, I say buy at least two bottles and open them among friends. This one is a crowd-pleaser that I could imagine working well at both holiday parties and BYOBs. It’s a fun option that should be enjoyed now.
Moving on from the white wines, we opened the 2017 Dry Rosé. Boasting 42% Grenache, 39% Counoise, and 19% Mourvedre, this was in my top two of the five wines we tried. Even though rosé was a trend everyone thought might die, I believe that the rosé I’ve tasted over the past year have been significantly more exciting, flavorful, and engaging that the ones I opened when I was twenty-one. This bottle was outstanding with good balance, well integrated alcohol, a touch of strawberry on the palate, and a depth not often found in California rosé. One of my friends tasted it alongside a crostini topped with Gouda and strawberry jam and raved about the pairing. Food friendly and relatively affordable with an SRP of $30, this is the wine that I would say is for everyone. Buy as many bottles as you can and drink it all throughout the year.
Next up was the 2015 The Spur Red Wine Blend. Very fruit forward with a hint of vanilla, there was cherry on the nose and dark fruits, dried berries, and versatility on the palate that kept each sip interesting. Despite the complexity, I wouldn’t spend too much time searching for tasting notes. It would be perfect for an easy night in the winter when you’ve rushed home from work or a small gathering of friends where you crave good wine but want to focus on the conversation more than what’s in your glass. So what made up this blend? The varietal composition was 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petite Sirah, 18% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. If that makes you perk your ears up, the SRP is $35 and it’s still available on their website, so don’t sleep on it.
Finally, we got to the 2015 Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon, which poured a lovely ruby color into the glass and, as I joked with my friend The AZ Wine Monk on Instagram, it seemed like the kind of wine that Sherlock Holmes would open. Comprised of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec, I loved it. I thought it had layers and it was the standout of the evening. The wine was incredibly expressive in a way that made me want to leave my nose in the glass for the rest of the night. There were peppery notes, black fruit, cocoa, tobacco, and a velvety mouthfeel that kept everything interesting. Although the wine was certainly powerful, it wasn’t too aggressive, making it strong yet approachable. Two of us were all about this bottle. I wished I had a coffee encrusted steak in front of me to dig into alongside the wine. If you can’t tell, I don’t want to stop talking about it. With the highest SRP of $58, I think the best thing to do with this wine is to either open it for yourself first and see if you love it as much as I did, or to save it for a day among friends who really go ga-ga for broody Cabernets. We tasted this one as an early release, yet the 2014 is sold out on their website, so keep an eye out and grab as many as you can once it is available.
One takeaway from this tasting with Snooth and Murrieta’s Well is that this winery has a variety of options for every wine lover. If you don’t believe me, just remember that many loved the Cabernet, while it was too much for some of my friends, and that none of us were fans of the Sauvignon Blanc, though many of the other wine bloggers that were participating in the virtual tasting adored it. What else make Murrieta’s Well unique? Located in the Livermore Valley and founded in the late 1800s, this winery is one of California’s original wine estates. All of the wine is sourced exclusively from said estate. For the French wine fans, the vineyard was started with cuttings from the Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux vineyards. There are plenty of cool things to discover about this estate and every new fact makes the passion behind the wine clear. If you’ve tried any of their other wines (particularly their Petit Verdot which I now have my eye on), let me know your favorites. If you participated in the tasting, did your thoughts line up with mine? Let’s start a discussion!
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries/importers listed above, but all opinions are my own.