Carl Kanowsky: Murrieta’s Well and the Christmas Party

From left to right, Claire Cullen, Paul Cullen, Elissa Nemecek, baby Olivia Nemecek, Whitney Lowrey and Terry Kanowsky. Courtesy photo
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We had our annual holiday office party the Thursday before Christmas. Sadly, we were missing Allen and Diane Eggers, as they were snowed in at their new home in Reno. Missed Diane’s excellent culinary offerings.

But we did have their three daughters as well as two new participants, Paul Cullen and his daughter, Claire.

We did our usual White Elephant gift exchange. But, it’s not really White Elephant since everyone brings new, interesting gifts. I have the unfortunate uncanny ability to pick the most desirable gift, which is promptly stolen, leaving me with others’ castoffs.

The saving grace are the food and wine shared by all. This year we had from Murrieta’s Well the 2015 The Whip, a white blend, and the 2014 The Spur, a red blend.

Both of these wines are unique blends.

The Whip consists of 30 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 30 percent Semillon (beginning to sound a little like a white Bordeaux), 30 percent Chardonnay (there goes the Bordeaux profile), 7 percent Viognier, and 3 percent Muscat Canelli, adding to the aromatic package the wine offers.

It’s a golden wine, with aromas going from flint and stone to pears and grapefruit. On the palate, the tasting comments ranged from grassy and tropical with a long, acidic finish, to smooth, to a good, simple wine, and finishing with a great description, “Fruity Pebbles.”

Overall, folks enjoyed the wine, but it didn’t knock anyone over.

The Spur is a similar eclectic mixture of varietals, 45 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 22 percent Petite Sirah, 14 percent Petit Verdot, 10 percent Merlot, 9 percent Cabernet Franc. It’s a Bordeaux with some Petite Sirah thrown in. The winery says they use this blend “to create a distinctly Livermore Valley fruit expression.”

It’s a dark red with an array of aromas, blackberry, tobacco, smoky, cherry, carrying a picture of a smooth and clean wine. A perceptive observation – the wine had little to no legs in the glass. Wine legs or “the tears of wine” as the French say, are the rivulets of liquid coasting down the side of the glass. The thickness and pace of the little “tears” indicate the alcohol level of the wine, with more alcoholic wines having thicker, slower legs. At 13.5 percent ABV, The Spur is a little low on the alcohol scale for red wines.

This was well-received. Folks found a mild floral flavor, pleasantly dry and full-bodied, to cherry, blackberry, and smoke/tobacco tastes, to bright, tart, and pomegranate. For me, it was still quite tannic, but others disagreed. They found a long, nice balanced finish to “I like it.”

These wines range from about $20 to $30/bottle.

Hope you had an enjoyable holiday season.

January 3, 2018
© Carl J. Kanowsky

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