Most California wine fans are familiar with Napa and Sonoma, but there’s so much more to California wine country than these venerated locales.
19th C. Murrieta’s Well is located in Livermore in California’s Central Valley. The vineyard has a long and venerated history; it was even started with cuttings from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateeau Margaux in France. However, in a true testament to how much terroir and place matter, their wines today have few similarities with this French heritage. Their wines are ALL California new world in style: big, luscious, juicy, and fruit forward.
Recently I had the opportunity to try an assortment during a Snooth tasting. Below are my favorite wines from the tasting along with some pairing recommendations! If you’re ready to branch out from Napa, these wines from Livermore are a great place to start exploring what else California has to offer.
The Whip, 2016
This was the fan favorite at my tasting gathering- a lovely blend of Sauvignon Blanc (33%), Semillon (24%), Chardonnay (21%), Orange Muscat (12%), and Viognier (10%). Extremely aromatic with lively acidity. This white wine was crisp and floral with notes of tropical fruit, jasmine and honeysuckle. This was a compelling wine on its own and would pair extremely well with spicy dishes. Vinified in a combination of stainless steel and small oak barrels.
Small Lot Sauvignon Blanc, 2017
I haven’t had a huge amount of oaked Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s certainly a different profile than what one might expect from the variety, but again, I found this wine compelling. The french oak adds a roundness and creaminess- there’s loads of pineapple and peach on this wine and some orange creamsicle happening here. I think it would pair beautifully with citrus infused poultry.
Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015
Pre-Release: Available September, 2018
This chewy, dense, fruit forward Bordeaux Blend (87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec) is just screaming for a smoked brisket! Definitely give it some time to open up and I would recommend decanting. Fruit forward with notes of blackberries, cherry, baking spices and cocoa. Aged for 18 months in new French oak; 30% second and third use French oak barrels.