WRATH WINES and THEIR CONNECTION TO ANCIENT ITALY
HOLLYWOOD(Spiritsman)4/22/14/–The Wrath Winery is located in North Monterey County in the area of the Santa Lucia Highlands, or to be more specific in Soledad. Wrath is a relative new company only created in 2007 by winemaker Michael Thomas who took over the San Saba Vineyard from his stepfather. The archeologist and art historian has produced some very nice wines in a price range of $19-$49 which include chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah. Incidentally the name Wrath originates from a Led Zeppelin tune, and I assume that Thomas must be a huge fan of the legendary rockers.
In fact there is an interesting storyline about Michael Thomas and his fascination with Italian wines. He plants Falanghina in his vineyard-one of the most ancient varieties in History. He and his archeological team have been exploring and appraising two Oplontis Villas near Pompeii, excavated several decades ago but never fully explored. This is all Part of his duties as Director of the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy at the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.
He discovered that the region had many individual vineyards in ancient times, and found evidence that wine was transported throughout the region by carts making or picking up deliveries in a big leather sack known as a culleus. Rome at the time had about 1 million citizens many very wealthy, so shipping wines up the coast at the time must have been a very profitable business venture.
Wine Spectator gave high scores in the nineties to three of the Wrath wines, the 2011 Syrah Monterey Ex Anima, the 2011 Syrah Monterey San Saba Vineyards and the 2011 Syrah Santa Lucia Highlands KW Ranch. The reason that the 2011 wines have such high ratings is that the Santa Lucia Highlands escaped the heavy rains in the region during harvest time. The overall impression after tasting these wines for several weeks is a strong fruity presence, nice balance and full bodied.
This certainly applies to my favorite, the Wrath Ex-Anima 2011 Pinot Noir ($29) which is a stainless and neutral oak estate grown pinot. Top of the line at $49 is the San Saba Vineyard Pinot Noir, a limited production run from select barrels of the estate grown pinot. This wine offers Burgundian complexity combined with California richness and a combination of Susan, 667, 828 and Pommard 4 clones.
The Syrah’s are particularly fruity and include a list of fruits embroiled in the overall taste such as exotic plum, blackberry, red berry, fig and cherries. Combine this with savory herb, game meat, rhubarb and tobacco leaf and the limited production of no more than 170 cases for each variety, it is amazing they can keep the prices so low.
There are two Chardonay’s in the collection, with the Ex-Anima version which is unoaked at $19. The more expensive version at $35 is the 3 Clone Chardonnay that uses the 3 clones grown in the San Saba Vineyard.
Photography David Mellish, Design Inc