This delicious red blend reminds me of a yummy mixed berry pie, flavorful and nuanced. The grapes making up this wine include Counoise, a Rhone grape, adds a peppery note and good acidity, Grenache from Spain is a generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, and Syrah, a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce powerful red wines, adds the body, or spine and a full mouth feel. Paso Robles is the perfect place for this kind of grape that requires big heat in order to come into full sugar. Expertly blended, this wine is satisfyingly rich yet not overpowering. Very enjoyable, fragrant aroma and beautiful garnet color.
I was privileged to tag along with a friend of mine who is a wine rep (and an awesome girl BTW) and got to have a tasting field day. So here we go. The notes will brief and succinct. (I’ll try).
The first was a Jack Hammer Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2010. It brings lots of crisp, bright tropical fruit with vanilla notes, and a good malolactic acid profile; a well balanced wine. Aged in stainless steel, usually for me, means it doesn’t have those rich flavor producing oak flavors, which I really like, but I loved this wine. Yes, I said it.
Next we Jack Hammer 2010 Pinot Noir, Olsen Ranch also Santa Lucia Highlands. This has a wonderful berry richness, nice balance with tannins and minerality. Fun label and great drinking wine.
Damian Georis of the Georis legacy is creating some really outstanding wines in the European style. Elegant and classic, these wines still bear the wine footprint of California yet have the substantial character associated with traditional refined tastes. The 2011 L’ Arsouille Chenin Blanc is a great example here. Creamy, delicious, fruity and satisfying; it’s a fantastic representation of the chenin blanc grape. It opens with unbelievably fragrant flavors of apples, peaches, and nectarines, Meyer lemon blossoms and cantaloupe. The mouth offers nuances of white mushroom, sea salt, jasmine and coriander. It is crisp, off-dry with an harmonious acidity. I found it rich, and the fruit from the mature Ventana Vineyards really shines. Gorgeous wine.
Another delicious Pinot Noir is the Gisele 2010, from Monterey grown grapes. It is everything you’d expect from a fruit redolent Pinot. Rich, full berry and spice flavors are well balanced as are the tannins formulating the purely delightful aspects of this lovely wine.
Tobin James wines have really fun labels with a great sense of humor, but there is nothing funny about the wine. It is well crafted like the Red Blend, called “tongue-in-cheek” Chateau Le Cacheflo. Cute. A mix of Barbera, Sangiovese and Syrah grapes makes for a powerful yet smooth taste with plenty of mouth feel in a really affordable wine. Nice. Their Ballistic Zinfandel is kind of their signature wine and what put this winery on the map. It is “ballsy” – in your face, with big, powerful fruit, like dark cherries and plums and a delicious long lasting flavor on the palate.
Finally we tried the Charles De Fere Moscato which was absolutely fabulous. A blast of honeydew and melon flavors, wildflowers, a spring like delight, sweet and bubbly, perfect for dessert or aperitif. This is just pure fun. Yum.
Uuugggh. Dude, have you ever had a full on crush? If yes, then… If no, then…Well then, you should taste this Bad Boy. Plummy berries, squashed violets perfectly balanced acid and tannins, oaked, aged and it talks to you. An amazing wine. Winemaker Chris Russi harvested the grapes from his own vineyard; so there is a passion here my friends. Obviously, I LOVED this wine. My delicate flower of a partner said he could just inhale it all evening, I per usual, just wanted to drink in all the elements and wallow in its’ gorgeousness, but, I digress. Nevertheless, it is an exceptional Zinfandel. Refined, big, expansive, lasting. Like good sex (pretend you didn’t see that). Made with love, and I believe that is what It is All about: LOVE. . A love affair to remember. A good crush is a lifetime memory, a great crush is your lifetime. I side with the latter in this wine and in life.
Just last Friday, January 4, 2013, I finally got to the Wrath tasting room in the Carmel Plaza in Carmel. But I have not had time to write and post this review until now. Meanwhile there is exciting news that Monterey County has been named one of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations by Wine Enthusiast in their .end of year 2012 issue. Very cool.
Anyhow, back to Wrath. What an experience. Christopher Whaley, an extremely well versed and knowledgeable host made sure that I was thoroughly educated on the integrity, commitment to artisan creation, passion and awareness that goes into the making of Wrath wines.
I found out that winemaker Sabrine Rodems creates exquisite wines with a character and distinction that reflects the owners’, Michael Thomas’ passion for fine varietal and vineyard flavors. A talented team with a sense of adventure and commitment to excellent quality translates their knowledge and skill seamlessly and successfully into these truly remarkable wines.
There is a standard and single vineyard tasting that is available. In order to help the reader, I generously tasted everything.
Chris started with the 2010 Chardonnay from the McIntyre Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands (Grower Steve McIntyre is part of this dream team as well). This sophisticated Chardonnay is aged in French Oak and welcomes you with a lovely, fragrant nose. Unlike some Chardonnays it does not overwhelm with oak aroma. It is redolent of crisp fruit that includes pears, lemon blossoms, guava like perfume and develops into a buttery flavor reminiscent of shortbread, with balanced acidity. Yum. This rich, smooth Chardonnay that will convince a red wine lover to expand their tastes and a real treat for Chardonnay lovers and aficionados alike. Well worth $49.
The 2010 Wrath Pinot Noir Swan/828 Monterey vineyard named after the Joseph Swan clone; this youthful and frisky Pinot Noir presents a happy berry blend with ripe with strawberry flavors, sun and delicious fruit. A perfect wine to wake up the palate. Reasonably priced at $35.
Next came the 2010 Wrath Pinot Noir, Pommard 4/777, Monterey Vineyard. The rich full bodied flavor attests to French Oak aging. On first inhale it has a powerful aroma of berries, sassafras and sage herbiness. The famously Wrath whole cluster fermentation brings out the tannic structure of the grapes and results in a lovely full, creamy wine. Also $35.
The 2009 Wrath Syrah, Fairview Vineyard (now known as the KB vineyard) Santa Lucia Highlands is a smokey, sexy wine that delivers an intense and sophisticated blend of leather, pepper and carmelized BBQ flavors. this seductive wine can stand alone and also up to a demanding meat based menu. $39
Ex Vite Pinot Noir, another gorgeous Pinot with loads of dark berry flavors, including black currents and spice. Absolutely delicious with fantastic structure, distinct tannins and lasting palate. $38
2010 Tondre Grapefield Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands showcases 30% new fruit with the 828/Pommard. Here the flavor bursts as the fruit has been pushed into concentration to bring out the most desirable flavors and lasting palate. $49
Now the 2009 Syrah, Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands is also aged in French Oak which successfully supports strong rich supple dark berry flavors with leather and a ‘Father’s Study’ mood. A mature and delicious wine. $39
When I tasted the 2010 San Saba Vineyard, Pinot Noir, I was immediately transported to a personal experience, and called this the “Barry White” wine. It’s smooth, seductive, drinkable and warming with all the right moves that you would want form a classic Pinot Noir. The herbs balance the fruit and support the flavors. It is creamy and has structure that takes you right into its’ ever expanding taste adventure. Two words.
Love. It. $49
The Boekenoogen 2010 is what I like to call a B.F.F. wine. It is inestimably wonderful, reliable, lovely and instantly a best friend forever. But don’t overlook its’ highly familiar and easy drinking nature; this is a complex berry filled wine with carefully tended flavors of herbs, earthiness and fresh fruit. I can see this as a really popular everyday go to wine. $49
Wrath has really done a fantastic job here. So emphatically in love with Wrath wines…and, I recently heard that they are making a Rose as well! Yipee Kiyaay! (sp?)