Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Listen to me: Visit Murrieta’s Well now!

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 at 2:01 pm in Uncategorized.

Every once in a while you’re truly inspired by a man, a winery, a concept, an idea, a filet roasted to perfection. Last Friday night, I was inspired by all of the above, and a really spectacular 2005 Mourvedre, at Murrieta’s Well in Livermore.

I don’t want to say too much, not because I’m a teasing drama queen, but because I’m probably going to write about this in more detail in that other outlet we call a newspaper. Funny, you hold it in your hand and read and stuff.

Anyway, I had the privilege of being sandwiched by Phil Wente and Sergio Traverso, the winemaking team of Murrieta’s Well, a small, romantic wine estate off Mines Road. 92 gorgeous, sustainably-farmed acres of yum-producing gravelly soil. Not only did I taste what I consider the most superior wines in this Valley (more on that in a sec), but I learned a great deal from two passionate men who’ve seen the industry morph and bloat beyond comprehension, and have kept their goals focused and in tact.

That said, I got some cool stuff out of Phil. His dream? He wants San Francisco to give him two acres on Potrero Hill to harvest Pinot Noir. Seems to think the climate and fog would make some beautiful juice. I believe him. Seems Jerry Brown did too, but Gav Newsom’s not sold on it quite yet. Bummer. We’ll root for you, Phil!

And then there’s Sergio. What a legend, eh? He was winemaker at Sterling and Domaine Chandon before leaving Napa in the 80s — too much fuss, he says (can you imagine how much worst it is now? — for Concannon, which he bought and elevated in stature. These days, he spends much time making wine in his native Chile but also consulting on Murrieta’s distinct blends. There’s so much more to say, but for now, go, buy these wines, and enjoy them. Then look out for my article on May 16:

2004 Muscat Canelli: I know what you’re thinking. Muscat? But no, this is not a sweet wine. The grapes did not go through malolactic fermentation so they retained the tartness and natural acidity. Instead, they added different strains of yeast in order to produce a blend with all of the characteristics inherent in the grape. The nose is all jasmine tea and the flavor is like a lemony canteloupe. Well worth the $25.

2005 Mourvedre. Wow. Who knew a clear-ish, ruby colored red could be so peppery, so full of herb and dark berries and weight? This is Mourvedre done right, left to shine on its own and not blended with Cab or Merlot. $26

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