Have you ever gone to an industry wine tasting event in your pajamas? Or have a winemaker come to your house to have you taste through their creations? Well, that’s exactly what happened when I attended a Virtual Wine Tasting by Snooth.com.
I was somewhat confused when I was invited to this event, as I had never heard of a “Virtual Wine Tasting.” How does that work? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Snooth.com sent me five wines to taste through and a log in to a video chat room. From the comfort of my own home I was able to watch and communicate with Snooth’s guest, Robbie Meyer, the winemaker from Murrieta’s Well in Livermore, California, explain all the details of the wines I had in front of me: the climates and soils, the fermentation and aging, and everything else you would expect to hear about when you attended a professional wine tasting event. Again, I never left the house.
First let’s talk about Snooth.com. Founded in 2006, they’ve grown to be one of the world’s largest wine websites, with 1.8 million registered members, and over 650,000 email subscribers. They cover all the bases: an online store and wine club, articles and reviews, study resources, and a database with information about over 4 million different wines. They also create custom events, such as the Murrieta’s Well tasting, both on and offline, for companies, industry members, and consumers.
They even a side page called “Snooth Eats,” where they have hundred of recipes, from fine-dining worthy entrees, to tailgating snacks, to “The Perfect Blueberry Syrup” (one of my personal favorites) all complete with Wine Pairing Guides to ensure you create the perfect homemade food and wine experience. For those who love to entertain, Snooth Eats is a helpful resource that makes throwing a memorable party a breeze.
Snooth.com has really covered all it’s bases, and created a fantastic one-stop-shop for all wine and food lovers out there.
Then there’s the second component to this experience: the winery. Murrieta’s Well, a hidden gem of Livermore Valley, has been growing grapes since 1884. Their vineyards were started from cuttings from the famed vineyards of Château d’Yquem and Château Margaux in Bordeaux, France and the descendants of those legendary vines still produce top quality fruit today.
The winery gets its name from Joaquin Murrieta, a legendary Mexican vaquero and bandito, also called “The Robin Hood of The Gold Rush,” and the inspiration for Johnston McCulley’s famous character Zorro. In the early 1850s, he roamed the countryside of the Livermore Valley, rounding up horses and cattle to sell for high prices in Mexico. One of his favorite campsites was around an artesian well in the area, which he claimed had the best water in the country. This famous well is now the site of the winery today.
In 1933, the owner, Louis Mel, sold the property to his good friend Ernest Wente, where it was tended to as an unknown addition to the Wente Estate until 1990, when Ernest’s grandson, Philip Wente, partnered with Sergio Traverso, a Chilean winemaker, and made a plan to breathe new life into the property. They named the new winery Murrietta’s Well to preserve the properties rich history.
Today, the property rests safely in the hands of winemaker Robbie Meyer, who oversees the estate and the vineyards. He is an open minded artist, who feels that blending is the most exciting part of the winemaking process. “We carefully allow each varietal to develop to its peak potential in the vineyard,” he says, “and then, through blending, I am truly able to put an artistic touch on the winemaking process.” He shows his passion and talent with his two flagship blends “The Whip,” and “The Spur,” which were released as a celebration in 2010 during the winery’s 20th year anniversary, and whose names pay homage to the image of Joaquin Murrieta himself.
The Whip is a white blend unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. A unique mix Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Orange Muscat. This wine is as crisp as it is aromatic, showing fresh notes of apricot, white peach, and lemon zest, with huge floral aromas of orange blossoms and honeysuckle, and an extended finish that lends some vanilla and butterscotch to the mix. This is a complex and textured wine you will not soon forget. I know I won’t.
The Spur is a pseudo-Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Although this wine has a bold Cabernet Sauvignon foundation, and boasts a traditional Bordeaux flavor profile, the Petite Sirah was added to bring an expression to the wine that is so truly Livermore Valley. From the moment the wine enters the glass you’ll be hit with overpowering aromas of ripe blueberries and black cherries, blackberry jam, vanilla and baking spices. You’ll also find notes of leather and dark chocolate that lead you to a long dry finish that will leave you wanting more.
All the wines from Murrieta’s Well were absolutely wonderful, but these blends truly showcase Robbie Meyer’s artistry and the unique qualities of the Livermore Valley terroir.
Between the delicious wines and the unique concept of “virtual tasting,” I have to say that this was an incredible experience that I am very thankful to be a part of. Snooth.com has created something very special, that allows wine lovers from all over the country to come together in one place to embark on a unique wine tasting adventure, regardless of their ability to be physically present.
This is what the internet was made for.
Thank you to Snooth.com and Murrieta’s Well for asking me to be a part of this event.