Murrieta’s Well Food and Wine Pairing

We participated in another online tasting last night, this time with a couple of wines from Murrieta’s Well. Murrieta’s Well is one of the Wente Vineyards in the Livermore Valley. Joaquin Murrieta discovered the artesian well that bears his name and the 92 acre estate was established in 1883 by Louis Mel. In the 1930s Ernest Wente bought the property from Louis Mel and in 1990 his grandson Philip along with winemaker Sergio Traverso partnered to resurrect Murrieta’s Well.

Along with the two wines, a white blend called The Whip and a red blend, The Spur, Wente Vineyards executive chef Matt Greco sent us two recipes to pair with the wines. Karl Wente and the Wente Vineyards Matt Grecco joined us on Ustream to taste the wine along with the food. So this was our first online wine and food pairing.

Murrietta's Well
The first recipe was for a Warm Potato and Poblano Salad with Grilled Onion Vinaigrette to pair with The Whip, a blend of 39% Chardonnay, 26% Semillon, 13% Gewürztraminer, 9% Orange Muscat, 7% Viognier and 6% Sauvignon Blanc. A blend like this makes for an aromatic and complex wine. The vinaigrette had malt vinegar, canola oil, honey, smoked chipotle Tabasco sauce, garlic, grilled red onions and more.

We let the potatoes get some of the smoke from the charcoal grill and they developed a great smoky flavor to go with the grilled red onions in the vinaigrette. Along with the poblano chile the combination of smoky and spicy went very well with The Whip.

2011 Murrieta’s Well The Whip ($21 – 12.5% alc.) is a light yellow color with a floral, fruity nose with some citrus. There is a lot of flavor, tropical fruit, citrus, vanilla and peach. There is a roundness in the mouth but it has good acidity. The finish is long and tasty. It goes very well with the potatoes, brings out some spiciness in the wine. Great match.

Later we tried it with the steak and it has enough flavor and acid to pair well with the steak if you prefer white wine with red meat.

The second recipe was for a Spice Rubbed Flatiron Steak, paprika, ancho chile powder, cinnamon, star anise, allspice, cloves and more. After the rub had sat for a while on the meat we grilled it over charcoal. This went well with The Spur, a blend of 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 21% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petite Sirah and 4% Merlot.

2009 Murrieta’s Well The Spur ($25 – 14.5% alc.) is a dark ruby and has a dark red fruit nose with cedar, caramel, vanilla and smoke. The flavor is complex dark fruit, black cherry, caramel and vanilla. There is a real roundness in the mouth with smooth tannins. The wine just feels good in your mouth along with tasting very good and having a long finish.

The Spur went great with the steak and had us think about how decadent it is to have different wine for your potato salad and steak.

Disclaimer: The wines were received as tasting samples.

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