The estate was discovered in the 1880’s when Louis Mell fell in love with the Livermore Valley and purchased a 92 acre estate called Murrieta’s Well. Realizing the soil was similar to some of the great vineyard sites in France, he built a gravity-flow winery and inmported cuttings from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux.
In the 1930’s Ernest Wente purchased the property, but it wasn’t until the 1990’s when Philip Wente, Ernest’s grandson formed a partnership with Sergio Traverso and together they built Murrieta’s Well.
Today, the two signature blends are The Whip which is a white blend and The Spur a red blend and there is lots going on with both of them. I took these wines to one of my favorite restaurants in Cape May called Tisha’s. Just so happens it’s a BYOB and I love that!
The Whip is a blend of 7 wines and yes you will taste the different characteristics of each. There blend is 27% Semillon, 24% Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Orange Muscat, 11% Viognier, 11% Gewurztraminer, 1% White Riesling. All were aged in stainleess steel, but parts of the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier were aged in neutral barrels which rounded out the mouth feel.
There is lots going on with this wine. When you sniff the glass for the aromas you have layers of fresh, sweet and tart fruit jumping at you. In your mouth you get flavors of pear, melon, pineapple, apple and a hint of sweetness. It’s very balanced and has a nice finish. SRP $22
I paired The Whip with Fried Calamari, roasted peppers, hot cherry peppers, capers with a sweet mustard drizzle. It was quite the pairing, the wine really complimented the dish, especially with the hot and sweet!
The Spur is a red bled of some pretty powerful reds. 31% Petite Sirah, 29% Petit Verdot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc. Yes, you can say “purple teeth” after you drink this. The wine was aged in 14 months in a combination of American, French, Eastern European and neutral oak barrels. SRP $25
On first pour the wine was tight, but as it opened up, it displayed the flavors of each of the grapes quite nicely. Aromas of black cherry, spice, toasted oak and a hint of chocolate was in the glass. On the palate, lots of dark fruit. Plum, blackberries, black cherry and a hint of black pepper.
This dish was paired with Short Rib Bolognese (pork short ribs slow cooked in tomato based sauce tossed with fettuccini pasta and grated Pecorino Romano) Once again the pairing was a match.