Featured Winery: Wrath Wines
Wrath produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Falanghina and Sauvignon Blanc from the estate San Saba
Vineyard and respected properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Formerly San Saba Winery, Michael Thomas
and his mother and business partner Barbara Lemmon purchased the winery in 2007 from Michael’s
stepfather. Michael named the new winery Wrath after an ancient Roman word ira or wrath (Michael is an
archaeologist) that was a “tool of a god,” an unstoppable anger driven by forces greater than man. Wrath is, in
Michael’s words, “in the wall of maritime fog that rolls into the Salinas Valley and the relentless afternoon winds
that scream through the grape trellises.”
The 68-acre site, previously planted to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, was replanted with the assistance of
noted local winegrower Steve McIntyre. San Saba Vineyard is a cool site with little rainfall and one of the
longest growing seasons in the world. Arroyo Gravelly Loam and Hanford Gravelly Loam soils provide a low vigor,
well-draining, disease and pest-free medium for the vines. With the assistance of viticultural consultant
Steve McIntyre, a sustainable farming program has been developed and the vineyard is SIP certified.
The winemaker is Sabrine Rodems, a UC Davis graduate in viticulture and enology and Byron Kosuge is the
The winery’s initial releases were in April 2009. The wines are sold primarily through a mailing list at
www.wrathwines.com and select retail outlets. A tasting room is located in Soledad and Carmel, with outdoor
tasting available at both locations during the pandemic.
This is my first exposure to the wines from this winery. The winery’s EX bottling (1680 cases, $29) was featured
in the last issue of the PinotFile focused on domestic Pinot Noir wines priced under $30.
2019 Wrath Saignée Monterey Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 197 cases, $21. 100% clone “828.” Grapes are from
San Saba Vineyard. A bleed off of clonal pinot lots. Aged 1 month in neutral French oak barrels.
dark pink salmon color in the glass. Inviting aromas of strawberry, red cherry and wildflower honey. A
somewhat hearty rosé featuring flavors that echo the nose plus notes of watermelon and blood orange. Brisk
acidity, with a satisfying, lip-smacking finish.
2018 Wrath 115/667 Monterey Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.60, RS 0.01, 679 cases, $35. Estate
grown grapes from San Saba Vineyard. 50% each 115 and 667. 16% whole cluster. Aged 11 months in an
assortment of French oak barrels, 20% new, and rested in bottle for an additional 12 months before release.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and dark red rose petal lead to a richly flavored
mid-weight wine featuring a core of black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors with an appealing earthy bent.
Well-managed barrel treatment and a satisfying finish of some length. Excellent value.
2018 Wrath Pommard 4/777 Monterey Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.62, RS 0.01, 677 cases, $35.
50% each Pommard 4 and 777. 20% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 24%
new, and then laid down for an additional 12 months of aging before release.
Moderately light garnet color in
the glass. Very enticing aromas of dark cherry, raspberry and floral goodness. The flavors replicate the aromas
with a touch of oak in the background. Suave in texture with minimal tannins and a modest finish.
2018 Wrath Boekenoogen Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.58, RS
0.01, 381 cases, $49. This 100-acre family vineyard was established in 1998 by John Boekenoogen. The
family’s cattle business has existed for five generations in the Salinas Valley. 50% 115 and 50% 113. 3-day cold
soak, 20% whole cluster fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, and laid down for
another 12 months of barrel aging before release.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Earth-kissed aromas of
black cherry, black licorice and seasoned oak. A dreamy texture captures attention upon entry. Somewhat shy,
offering mid-weight flavors of black fruits framed by tame tannins. Needs more time in the cellar.
2018 Wrath San Saba Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.60, RS 0.01, 404 cases, $49. Yields 3.5-4.0
tons per acre. Clones “828,” Pommard 4, 667, 777, 115 and
Swan selection. 3-day cold soak, 35% whole cluster
fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 35% new,
and laid down for another 12 months of barrel aging before
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Beautifully
perfumed nose with aromas of dark Boing cherry, spice and
sous-bois. Complex and provocative in a middleweight style
with a delicious core of dark cherry and raspberry fruits
accented with a hint of spice, dark caramel and earthiness.
Admirable balance with welcome finishing persistence.
2018 Wrath Tondré Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., ph 3.77, TA 0.56, RS 0.01,
343 cases, $49. Father Tondré and son Joe Alarid planted the first 6.5 acres of Tondré Grapefield on a gravelly
bench above Salinas Valley in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Today, the 100-acre vineyard is certified
sustainable (SIP) source of Pinot Noir for many of California’s top producers. 40% Pommard 4, 40% 115 and
20% 493. 3-day cold soak, 20% whole cluster fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 27% new,
and laid down for another 12 months of bottle aging before release.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. An
array of aromas lead off including cherry spice cabinet, vanilla and sawdust. Noticeable richness and plush on
the palate, with flavors of black stone and berry fruits. Boldest of the three 2018 vineyard-designated Pinot
Noirs with also more oak in evidence. There is a curious petrol note appearing on the finish.