There can be nothing bad about a winery getting its name from a Led Zeppelin song.

That alone should be enough to get you in the door at Wrath and once there, the wines will make sure you stay and come back to visit again and again!

Wrath may have help in getting its name from the song “Going to California” on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album (Rolling Stone has it as No. 11 on the list of the 40 greatest Zeppelin songs), but it’s their host of quality Pinot Noir’s, Syrah and Chardonnay that have put the winery on the map.

The genesis of Wrath began when the Thomas family bought San Saba Vineyards in 2007. The vineyard remains San Saba, but the Wrath label was created by Michael Thomas and his mother Barbara, the co-owners.

Located in the Carmel Plaza, a collection of over 40 specialty shops near the top of Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea, we stumbled upon Wrath while looking for The Cheese Shop.

Am I happy we did.

The neat tasting room was under the guidance of Ruth, the assistant tasting room manager. Ruth was invaluable in taking us through flights of wine, as well as giving us a Wrath history lesson.

The tasting room will be open six years in August and is a comfortable and well decorated space.

The estate San Saba Vineyard is sheltered in a nook just below the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, roughly 25 miles southeast of the town of Monterey. The climate is heavily influenced by the morning fog and afternoon winds from the nearby Pacific Ocean. This is a cool site with little rainfall and one of the longest growing seasons in the world.

I am a huge Pinot Noir fan so I really enjoyed tasting a series of quality Pinot’s. But if Pinot is not your thing – it’s not for my wife – there certainly are other options.

All images property of Michael Kelley and mpkelley.com. Use only with express permission or licensing from Michael Kelley. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution is prohibited.

For starters, my wife enjoyed the 2014 Fermata Chardonnay. It falls in between steel and oak, boasting a creamy taste. The 2013 Alta Loma Grenache was also a solid choice.

But make no mistake about, the star of the show is the Pinot.

The two single-vineyard Pinot’s I tasted were both very good wines. The 2014 KW Ranch and the 2014 Boekenoogen can stand on their own against any Pinot Noir in the region.

Twice a month there are educational tastings held at Wrath, something the staff feels strongly about. It’s not just pouring wine – it’s more about understanding what you are drinking.

There is a second tasting room located at winery in Soledad if you want to get up close and personal at the winery.

With quality being the key for Wrath, production fluctuates between 5,000-7,000 cases per year. It’s a popular wine and getting on the Wrath mailing list is a sure-fire way to keep up to date with releases.

Hitting up Wrath, as well as The Cheese Shop is an absolute must when you are in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The Carmel Plaza is an inviting center and Wrath adds to the charm.

By Dennis Miller

 

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