Wine Reviews: Murrieta’s Well

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-06-2018

Dm57WTOXoAA42H3If you’re unfamiliar with the wines of California’s Livermore Valley, Murrieta’s Well might be a good place to start. This Livermore Valley producer sources grapes from about 100 acres of estate vineyards on a site that dates back to the 1880s. That’s when Louis Mel purchased the property and planted a vineyard based on cuttings from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux.

His friend Ernest Wente purchased the vineyard in the 1930s, and it has been under the Wente family’s control ever since, though the Murietta’s Well brand was established in 1990.

The fruit comes from a few sites: the Louis Mel Vineyard (which sits at about 575-715 feet in elevation), and the Hayes Vineyard, which rises to about 860 feet. The valley stretches east to west, which allows cooling fog and breeze from the San Francisco Bay to roll in. Combine that with gravelly, clay soils, and winemaker Robbie Meyer has some high quality fruit to work with.

These wines make a good, refreshing argument for why this historic California wine region is still relevant today.

I received these wines as samples and tasted them sighted.

2016 Murrieta’s Well The Whip- California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley
SRP: $26
Light yellow color. Peaches, lychee, magnolia, fresh laundry and ginger on the nose, a really interesting combo. Pleasantly juicy with orange, lychee and pineapple fruit, a waxy feel but vibrant acidity. The fruit is accented with baby’s breath, white tea, raw almond, floral perfume. Chunky fruit but fresh throughout. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Orange Muscat and Viognier. Aged 14 months in a mix of barrels and stainless steel. (88 points IJB)

2017 Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé- California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley
SRP: $30
Light watermelon color. Bright and floral with baby’s breath, cherry blossom, wild strawberries, juicy watermelon, a spicy green herbal note, too. Medium-bodied, plump texture but moderating acidity. Flavors of strawberry, white cherries, watermelon, apricot, with lots of white flowers, rose petals, honeyed tea and a spicy white pepper note. Complex, fresh. A blend of Grenache, Counoise and Mourvedre. (89 points IJB)

2016 Murrieta’s Well The Spur- California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley
SRP: $35
Vibrant purple color. Aromas of blackberries, currant paste, roasted fig, with vanilla coffee, roasted herbs, anise, clove, some sweet violets and root beer notes. Medium-bodied and plush on the palate with smooth tannins and vibrant acidity. Juicy and tangy fruit (black cherries, raspberries, juicy plums), the fruit has a nice crunch to it, and I get elements of spiced black tea, anise, cedar, espresso and mint. Yummy for sure, but shows freshness as well. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Aged two years in 40% new oak. (90 points IJB)

2016 Murrieta’s Well Merlot Small Lot- California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley
SRP: $46
Bright purple color. Nose shows rich but tart blackberries and black cherries with earthy, smoky notes, along with violets, coffee grounds and eucalyptus. Medium/full-bodied with fleshy tannins, the fruit (blackberry, dark plums, black cherries) is juicy but fresh acidity keeps it tangy. Notes of roasted coffee, tilled soil, violet petals, some vanilla and cedar woven in well. This is delicious, balanced, vibrant. I’m impressed. Includes 5% Cabernet, all the fruit comes from the Sachau Vineyard, gravelly, sandy loam. The wine is aged 18 months in 60% new French oak. (90 points IJB)

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