Murrieta's Well The Spur 2016
Blend: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 22% Petite Sirah, 9% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Proof that the Livermore Valley can make serious Bordeaux blend reds. I love the fresh blackberries that pour from the glass of this elegant, dry red that prompts you to order some roast vegetables or meat right now. Long, crisp finish. 35 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 27 per cent merlot, 22 per cent petit syrah, the rest petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec.
Nestled in the Livermore Valley, Murrieta’s Well is one of California’s original wine estates. Their vineyard began in the 1880s with cuttings from famed Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux. Today, they use this land to their advantage and plant grape varieties according to the various microclimates on our property. All of the wines are sourced exclusively from the estate.
2019 marks acclaimed winemaker, Robbie Meyer’s 23rd vintage. In this time, he has received over 100 90+ point ratings for wines from the Livermore Valley, Napa Valley, Santa Barbara and Sonoma County. At Murrieta’s Well, Robbie focuses on creating wines of elegance and balance that tell the story of their estate. With a patient and open-minded approach to winemaking, Robbie tells a story worth listening to glass after glass.
A warm sub-appellation of the greater San Francisco Bay AVA (American Viticultural Area), Livermore Valley mainly hides behind the shielding effects of the bay’s eastern hills. However, late afternoon winds cool down summer nights as daytime heat rises from the Central Valley in the east, pulling the cold, foggy, bay air inland. This cooler evening air permeates the Livermore Valley's foothills, making this an ideal environment for the development of phenolic ripeness and concentration in its wine grapes.
The Livermore Valley is one of California's oldest wine regions and has played a crucial role in shaping California's wine industry. Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. Then in the mid 1800s, a man named Robert Livermore planted the area’s first commercial vineyards. Winemaker pioneer C. H. Wente arrived a few years later; today the Wente Chardonnay clone is the source of a majority of California Chardonnay. Furthermore, James Concannon and the Wetmore brothers recognized the virtues of the area’s Bordeaux-like gravel soils and dedicated themselves to making high quality wine from Bordeaux varieties. Today the area is also known for high quality Petite Sirah.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.