Thursday, July 5, 2012

Savor the grapes of Wrath

"...and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath.  In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage." (Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck)

John Steinbeck's iconic novel of the Joad family's migration west to California depicts the plight of poor Americans during the Great Depression and the ensuing economic and social hardship that trapped millions of people throughout the country.  It's also an appropriate quote to highlight the plight of wine drinkers from monolithic wines to truly hand-crafted wines that represent the best of the terroir, varietal and vintage.

On June 3, 2012, the Rhône Rangers provided the backdrop for my wine epiphany and introduction to Wrath Wines of Monterey County.  The Rhône Rangers Los Angeles Tasting Event featured dozens of wineries from all across California.  It was easy to overlook the table near the entrance to the event at the historic Vibiana when there were some many other familiar wineries in the room.  However, there was a buzz among some of the trade that a winery with a fierce name and edgy label was pouring some of the best Syrah wines at the event.

The epiphany occurred after just one sip.  If there weren't ABC rules prohibiting more than one ounce from being poured in a glass at one time, I would bogart every bottle of wine until my desire for more is satisfied, at which point you might want to call an ambulance.  After experiencing Wrath's Syrah wines, I decided to plan a visit to the winery following my trip to Sonoma County.  I could not delay another week or month the opportunity to experience Wrath Wines.

On a late summer afternoon, I traveled south on River Road and veered right onto Foothill Road to the winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  Wrath Wines and the SIP-certified San Saba Vineyard is set on a nook below the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA overlooking the Salinas Valley. For a course refresher (including this wine blogger), the Santa Lucia Highlands is situated along the Santa Lucia Range above the Salinas Valley and across from the Gabilan Range to the east. This cooler climate growing region benefits from its close proximity to the cold waters of Monterey Bay. On the westside of the property sits a late 19th century home moved from Salinas to the vineyard in Soledad.  This bare structure, which is the perfect setting for a horror novel or a Halloween party, is the backdrop for Wrath Wines' label (see picture above and below).

The color version of the Wrath Wines label
San Saba Vineyard

The formal tasting room is spacious and entertaining with large windows and doors that afford spectacular views of the estate San Saba Vineyard.  Outside lies a patio that wraps around the tasting room and overlooks the irrigation pond.  If you were looking for a solitary location to entertain friends and family with superbly crafted wines, then you found the right place.  There isn't much around here, but within the confines of the property, your desire for solitude is complimented with a glass of great wine and scenic views of the agricultural epicenter of California's Central Coast.

Wrath Wines Tasting Room
Wrath Wines Tasting Room

The daring name of Wrath Wines reveals an attitude, passion and inherent respect for producing authentic wine specific to the terroir.  Wrath produces over a dozen clone-specific, estate sourced and/or single-vineyard wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. The quality and craftsmanship of their wines borders on perfection, at least for my palate. When you drink Wrath Wines, you think of the following words: aromatic, complex, layered, opulent, structured and well-integrated.  For the most recent vintage, my favorites include the McIntyre Vineyard Chardonnay, Ex Vite Pinot Noir, Doctor's Vineyard Syrah and Moscato.

Wrath's Single Vineyard Pinot Noir & Syrah Wines

There is no hype about Wrath Wines' growing acclaim.  There is a new mecca for great wine in California's Central Coast and its called Wrath Wines.  Savor the grapes of Wrath...

Wrath Wines
35801 Foothill Road, Soledad
(831) 678-2212
Open Fri-Mon, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Facebook: Wrath Wines
Twitter: @WrathWines

Carmel Tasting Room
Ocean Ave. and Mission St., Carmel (located on ground floor)
Open Mon-Sat, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Sun 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(831) 620-1909


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