Unfortunately we couldn’t make the event this year, but the winery kindly sent us four bottles to sample. And thanks to Snooth, we also viewed the video of Robbie talking about how much fun he has making wine. Indeed, Robbie’s passion as a winemaker shines in each glass of his food-friendly wines.
You can read our thoughts about the four wines below. But first, it’s important to note Murrieta’s Well credentials. It is one of California’s original wineries, propagated in 1883 with vineyard cuttings from Chateau Margaux and Chateau d’Yquem in France. The Livermore valley winery is owned by Philip Wente of Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. You can read more of their history here.
And now, the wines.
Murrieta’s Well Wines
We tasted the recent releases of Dry Orange Muscat, Dry Rosé, The Spur and Merlot. All four wines are food-friendly, with awesome aromatics and Robbie’s “mad scientist” blending expertise shining through.
Murrieta’s Well 2018 Dry Orange Muscat Small Lot ($38)
First, we must admit, we did not expect to like this wine. We thought it would be very sweet. Instead, this Dry Orange Muscat is deliciously dry and refreshing. Stunning aromatics of orange blossoms, orange peel, jasmine and spice lead into flavors of tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, apricots, and a hint of spice. Its wonderful balance of fruit and acidity pairs well with Asian food, shellfish, mushroom dishes and fruit salad.
Murrieta’s Well 2018 Dry Rosé ($32)
This wine is simply beautiful. Robbie magnificently blended Counoise (42%) with Grenache (33%) and Mourvedre (25%) into a lovely, smooth and elegant peach-colored wine that is refreshingly clean but also boasts substance. Peach and berry flavors follow aromas of strawberries and nectarine. This is not just a summer sipper. Take it to the table and pair it with grilled salmon, lobster ravioli, charcuterie, butternut squash risotto or Thanksgiving dishes.
Murrieta’s Well 2017 The Spur ($35)
We’ve been fans of The Spur since 2011, and this latest vintage continues to impress. This rich red wine showcases Robbie’s blending skills. He made each variety individually, and when complete, he then blended Cabernet Sauvignon (64%), Petite Sirah (14%), Merlot (13%) and Petit Verdot (9%) into The Spur. The amazing aromas of blueberries, blackberries and spice are mirrored on the palate, along with flavors of plum, black cherry and licorice. This is a glamorous wine to pair with burgers, steaks, or a simple plate of cheese, walnuts and figs.
Of note, previous vintages of The Spur closed with a screw top, but Robbie decided to move to cork in the 2017 bottle. He said he really likes the “simple romance” of wine with a cork, which adds “a certain level of sophistication.” In addition, he said a cork helps the aging process for people who like to cellar The Spur, which can be enjoyed through 2025.
Murrieta’s Well 2016 Merlot Small Lot ($46)
As we mentioned recently, it’s time to start drinking Merlot again, people. And you can start with this plush, expressive, full-bodied wine that features structure and complexity. What a beauty! Cocoa, red plum and black cherry on the nose mix with notes of vanilla, mocha, spice and red licorice. This is a concentrated and textured Merlot that can be paired with salmon, roast chicken, burgers, mushroom dishes and dark chocolate. It also would complement your Thanksgiving table.
Next year marks the 30th anniversary of Murrieta’s Well. And you can celebrate with Robbie on the Taste of Bordeaux 2020 Wine Cruise. Until then, we highly recommend that you purchase Murrieta’s Well wines. In addition to those mentioned here, there are many other wines in the portfolio of this popular Livermore Valley winery. What are you waiting for?
Margot and Dave