Edible Monterey Bay

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Savvy Sips: Slow Wine and Beach Vibes

April 9, 2021 – At the very southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands bench, at the intersection of Foothill Road and River Road in Soledad, Wrath is officially just shy of being in the SLH AVA. But it’s lower elevation makes this a pretty cool site, in many ways. Here, winemaker Sabrine Rodems has been making wines since the place was called San Saba, and there were lions on the label. We love Wrath for their breadth of offerings, from the elegant raspberry and chocolate ganache style of the Boekenoogen Vineyard Pinot to the meaty, intense, earthy and deeply satisfying Tondre Grapefields version, but the estate Pinot Noir is a special journey in itself. 

2017 Wrath San Saba Pinot Noir – This delightful estate grown wine, filled with smokey plum, cranberry, blueberry, sage and hints of flint, offers true Burgundian fans something of everything they appreciate about Pinot Noir: red fruit, earthiness, a hint of mushroom, amazing drive, acid and verve. No wonder it was honored by Slow Wine USA with a “COIN” award, which means “excellent value for the money.” Claire Marlin of Wrath tells us, “Slow Wine is part of the Slow Food movement that began in Italy. Their Manifesto meshes nicely with SIP Certified, of which we are also a member. Slow Wine plans to host a public tastings event in San Francisco this coming June.”  Too bad this vintage is sold out, but the 2018 is pretty nice, too!

2018 Wrath San Saba Pinot Noir – Aromas of ripe berries baking in the sun, strawberry shortcake, and rich dark chocolate, open the book on this lipsmacking wine. It’s a big juicy style, with flavors of oven fresh blackberry coriander scones, roasted fennel with balsamic and herbs de Provence and black currant jam. The depth and plush mouthfeel are a sip after sip delight, like hiking up a steep hill with views that get better with each step. This is definitely the sunny, fruit-forward side of Pinot Noir. 

2018 Caraccioli Escolle Vineyard Chardonnay – Being that we’re definitely in the midst of spring, it’s time to break out the white wines. Although you might think of Caraccioli Cellars for their award-winning méthode traditionnelle sparklings, their Escolle Chardonnay shines brightly as a still wine also. Aromas of lemon, lime, fresh cut pineapple, freesia, fennel, lychee and salty sea air make you think oysters. Made by father-son winemakers Greg and Chris Vita, this is almost Chablis-like with vibrant Meyer lemon, apricot, pluot, quince, nectarine and saltwater taffy. How can a wine with such intense fruit be so briskly, sparkly clean? It’s like breezes blowing through your cabana on a blinding white sand beach.

About the author

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Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.

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