I love Wrath. I can’t help it. Their wines are so good that tasting them and drinking them started me on this whole wild, crazy, fun and information dense journey to learn more about wine (which I love) and the whole process of its’ history, growing grapes, varietals and what make some wines so much better than others. For about two or three years I’ve been wanting to interview the very talented winemaker, Sabrine Rodems. Now at least I have her answers via the magic of email. Then I review two Wrath wines, with more to come!
1.How did you come about becoming a winemaker, and what and who influenced you?
I have always been interested in food and wine as early as my late teens. I come from a large family; I am the youngest of six. My mother and father were always interested in having us experience other cultures through food. Also, we lived in Novato (Marin County) in the late 60’s early 70’s and with a family that large we often went to wine country since you could take a picnic, go on a wine tour and have a day out for practically free. My parents entertained us with wine tours, cheese factory tours, chicken factory tours….we saw it all. Educational and entertaining! Probably where it all started.
2.What styles are you particularly interested in exploring?
The beauty of being at a small winery at Wrath, and having the creative support of the owners Michael and Barbara Thomas, is that we do a lot of experimentation. Almost every vintage it recent years has had the following lots that started as an experiment:
o Early Pick Syrah
o Late Pick Syrah
o Early Pick Pinot Noir
o 100% Whole cluster on Syrah and Pinot Noir
o 50 % Whole cluster on Syrah and Pinot Noir
o Skin contact on whites
o Early pick Chardonnay
I guess what I am saying is that anything we are particularly interested in exploring we do. This year we have Falanghina, an Italian white varietal that we grafted on our property for the first time. Since it is the first time we have ever made this varietal we have four different lots. We are all about experimentation, which makes it exciting and fun for me!
3.In your opinion, what is the most important part of the wine making process?
Everybody says it, but it is true. Bring me good quality grapes grown in the appropriate environment for the varietal and I am way ahead of the game. This is the most important part of the process. Specifically in the wine making process once the grapes are in the door, the most important part is to not overwork, over process the fruit. Keep the acids in balance and let the fruit show off its amazing qualities.
What new wines are you looking forward to making?
I mentioned before the Falanghina. It was grafted two years ago on our property and 2014 was the first harvest we got fruit off these vines. Currently we have 130 gallons of wine that we fermented in a terra cotta dolia. It is super interesting. I also did some Falanghina on skins for the entire fermentation. That wine is really interesting. Rich and exploding with dried apricot.
Thank you Sabrine! I can’t wait to taste the Falanghina.
Meanwhile, the Wrath 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 KW Ranch Syrah are featured today.
The Ex Anima Sauvignon Blanc has evolved into one of Wrath’s signature wines. The 2013 vintage follows that tradition while celebrating the true varietal characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc. A powerful bouquet shows off a classically grassy nose, with undertones of grapefruit and celery leaf. Vibrant and complex, the palate offers enticing acidity- balanced by expressive notes of gooseberry, lime, and passion fruit- that finishes with a clean minerality.
This 2011 Syrah produces a profound nose, characterized by layers of smokehouse aromas intertwined with black currant, blackberry, tar, licorice and floral undertones. Savory elements continue to blend with dark fruit on the rich but balanced palate that finishes with juicy tannins and a bright acidity.