This is a big piece of California wine history.

It’s yet another great vintage from Murrieta’s Well.


Last month, in the company of forty-five wine writers, I caught up with Murrieta’s Well winemaker Robbie Meyer. We tasted through a selection of his latest wines, and I continue to be absolutely floored by Robbie’s work. The Murrieta’s Well property provides a base of superior ingredients, and Robbie uses them to great advantage.

The Murrieta’s Well property has been farmed for over one hundred and thirty years, thus establishing a true core of California’s wine heritage. In the 1830s, winery namesake Joaquin Murrieta brought horses to drink from the property’s naturally available groundwater – rife with nutrients from the mineral-rich soils.  

By the 1880s, wine pioneer Louis Mel had seized upon the property as the ideal spot for grape vines, recognizing its similarities to Europe’s great properties. Vine cuttings from famous Bordeaux Chateau (including d’Yquem and Margaux) were brought over to establish the vineyard land at Murrieta’s Well. Grapes have been grown on the land ever since. To me, this renders Murrieta’s Well a cultural touchstone for wine lovers around the world.
Combine the property itself with unrivaled attention to detail and the magic really starts to unfold. Robbie considers each acre, each vineyard plot, each row of vines, each grape – and yes, each leaf – as individuals. This pushes the wines’ quality-to-price ratio off the charts. There aren’t any textbook formulas here; it’s a dynamic relationship with nature that helps to create these masterpiece wines.

Take leaf layers. Robbie considers the leaf shape of each plant. When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, for example, he wants to make sure that at least one leaf protects the cluster from direct sunlight. Careful leaf pruning will achieve “dappled light in the fruit zone”, Robbie says. These wines are hand-crafted, in the most literal sense of the term.

The next best thing to tasting the wines is visiting the property. Be sure to add Murrieta’s Well to your fall wine travel plans. Take a tour through the vines, taste some wines in the historic barrel room, and sample a few custom food pairings. In the meantime, watch the virtual tasting here. Tasting notes and links to purchase are below.

Murrieta’s Well The Whip White Blend Livermore Valley 2016

Orange and tangerine notes are lightly floral and creamy with fresh minerality and hints of lime zest. Fresh, perky acidity on the palate with creamy orange notes, tea leaf and a finish of green apple and floral white peach.

Murrieta’s Well Small Lot Sauvignon Blanc Livermore Valley 2017

Mineral citrus aromas with tropical fruit notes of pineapple with lemon zest and green apple. Fresh minerality and bold acidity on the palate with lemon drop fruit and a creamy textured palate of lightly green melon and fresh peach.

Murrieta’s Well Dry Rose Livermore Valley 2017

Nicely expressive rose petal and watermelon fruit aromas. Impressive depth of fruit on the palate with notes of cherry and strawberry, watermelon and cranberry, a touch of smoky earth towards the finish keeps the palate grounded but throughout there’s a crisp acidity that plays well against the fruit.

Murrieta’s Well The Spur Red Blend Livermore Valley 2015

Floral aromas of fresh licorice, black cherry and blackberry, a touch of green pepper and spice adding some complexity and a creamy vanilla note. This is lively and fun on the palate with juicy and jammy black cherry and purple fruit, fun cinnamon, vanilla bean and black pepper spice, gentle tannins and good acidity throughout.

Murrieta’s Well Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley 2015*

Austere and elegant aromas of vanilla and cream with mixed berry and black currant. Full palate of black currant and blackberry, this is cool and juicy with nutty chocolate notes, dried fruit notes of prune and dates with a tart plum skin freshness and a finish of vanilla bean, cinnamon and oak spice.

*Pre-release. Get the 2014 here.

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