I spent my entire Sunday afternoon volunteering for the good folks at Cuda Ridge for their 4th Annual Vintage Tasting. For hours, I poured wine, talked about wine, listen to others talk about wine, and drank some wine. (You know, to check for corked bottles.) After being around wine all day, there was only one thing I wanted to do that evening… Go wine tasting!
That is exactly what I did because Murrieta’s Well was having their release party and member’s pick up that evening. To accommodate its members, Murrieta’s Well added an evening pick up time to go with their two afternoon times. It seemed odd to have a release party on a Sunday evening, but the way it worked out, it was certainly the best time to go. Over the last couple of years, I have gotten used to waiting in line just to get in the door, and there is usually a wait at each pouring station. However, on Sunday night, with so few members attending, we received the personal attention from the staff that you would expect at a small boutique winery.
In fact, our favorite Well pourer, Liza, was manning the first station. Liza is always very friendly, and quite knowledgeable about the wines. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend too much time with her because she was only pouring one wine, and it was a white: the 2009 Semillon/Chardonnay. Dry white wines just aren’t my thing, and this one was certainly dry.
We quickly moved on to something for up our alley – merlot. There were two stations pouring two merlots each. At the first, they had a Los Tosoros 2003 and 2006 Merlot. The ’03, even decanted, seemed a bit past its prime, but the ’06 more than made up for it. It was a beautiful wine – relaxed, fruity, with just enough tannins to balance it. We moved on to the next station to try the 2008 and 2009 versions of the same varietal. The ’08 was just as delicious as the ’06, but slightly more tannic. The 2009 was good, but after the others, it tasted young. The good news is we were receiving three bottles of the 2009 Merlot in our shipment, so hopefully one or two can rest for a while, especially if it has the potential to be as good as its older kin.
As delicious as the Merlot’s were, we were ready to move on to something new, so upstairs we went to try the Los Tosoros 2008 and 2009 Touriga Francesca. Kudos to Murrieta’s Well for setting up a tasting station outside on their back patio. The change of scenery was welcomed, and Touriga, Nacional, or Francesca, is a fine choice of wine to drink on a warm summer evening. Also, after all of the fruity merlots, the bolder tourigas were a welcomed shock to the palate. They were dark, rich, and spicy. Again, the main difference between the two was the immaturity of the 2009 version, but like the merlot, we were receiving three.
Finally, we went inside to the regular tasting room. They were pouring the 2008 Los Tosoros Red Meritage. I was excited to taste this wine for a couple of reasons. First, meritage has always been my favorite wine at the Well. (Don’t get me started on the fact that they dropped their white label red meritage.) Second, I have been holding on to a bottle of this ’08 for almost a year (a personal record). When I tasted it back then, it wasn’t quite ready, and I was more than curious to see if it was ready now. Boy is it! It is bold, but fruity; tannic, but mature. There is a reason why this wine is amongst their most expensive ($60): it is a great tasting wine.
My wife and I finished our glasses on the building’s front balcony. If their wine is the main reason we are members of Murrieta’s Well, their location is a close second. It is beautiful and secluded. Because it was an evening tasting, we got a chance to see the long shadows being cast over the vineyards as the cool evening breeze washed over us. It was a perfect way to end the day and a reminder of why we are and will continue to be members at The Well.