Tasting wine with the winemaker — there may be no better way to experience a glass than this collaborative moment. Thanks to Snooth, I recently had the opportunity to experience a virtual tasting with Robbie Meyer, the winemaker at Murrieta’s Well. He was at home in California’s Livermore Valley and I was at home in Illinois.
This interstate leap is a capture of how Murrieta’s Well does things. They are comfortable at home but have a global perspective and wide reach. Growing grapes since the 1800s — on cuttings from Château d’Yquem and Château Margaux — they honor small plot, terroir-driven philosophies to produce wines with California style and French roots. In the 1930’s, the winery became part of the Wente Estate, a name deeply synonymous with California wine history.
The Livermore Valley AVA is located about 30 miles east of San Fransico. The region earned AVA status in the early 1980’s (one of the initial recognitions) due to their unique gravel-based soil. Cool Pacific breezes that blow into the coastal range and foothills preserve the growing season and foster thriving vineyards.
According to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, “Livermore Valley wineries were the first to bottle varietal labeled Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah. Nearly 80% of California’s Chardonnay vines trace their genetic roots to a Livermore Valley clone,” (from the Wente family, of which Murrieta’s Well is part).
But despite the deep threads of tradition, the growers of the Livermore Valley are open to cultivating international varietals such as Tempranillo, Barbera and Touriga. With more than 50 wineries in the area, Livermore Valley has something for everyone is an exciting destination that should be a part of every wine lover’s tour of California.
In 2010 Murrieta’s Well celebrated their 20th Anniversary and with the milestone released the Whip and the Spur, their white and red blends which tend toward classic Bordeaux varieties. These wines are constant favorites for wine enthusiasts seeking aromatic, balanced, food-friendly wines. Says winemaker Robbie Meyer: “For me, blending is the most exciting part of winemaking.”
Murrieta’s Well is also known for their small-lot, single variety line featuring classics such as Cabernet Sauvignon and unexpected offerings such as Muscat Canelli. The terroir-driven, estate-grown emphasis enables Meyer to capture the vineyards that helped make California wine history. “The wines we create inspire people to think about where the grapes are grown,” says Meyer.
For your own Tasting With The Winemaker moment, here’s Meyer speaking about the 2017 Dry Rosé, a sought-after bottle for summer:
Visitors are welcome and reservations are required. To book a tasting or experience — such as the upcoming Hiking in the Vineyard outing — see the Murrietta’s Well website. If you can’t make it in person, wines are available online.