By Fred Swan
Wrath’s San Saba estate vineyard is not in the Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s darned close though. The vineyard is located at the junction of Foothill Road and River Road, but on the wrong side of Foothill to be within the AVA. The boundary isn’t arbitrary in this case. There is a difference in altitude with San Saba being lower, not on the “highlands.” But soils are essentially the same gravelly loams. For the most part, the climate is also identical, which includes a daily double onslaught of thick maritime fog followed by relentless afternoon winds.
Like the vineyards and wineries which are within the AVA, Wrath specializes in Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. Wrath offers a variety of styles, including oaked and unoaked versions of whites and reds. They also offer vineyard-designate wines from sites within the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.
The cool yet sunny and mostly rain-free climate creates a long growing season. Wrath’s winemaking is fairly hands-off: ambient yeasts, restrained use of oak and minimal filtration. So, the wines can be dark and potent but still present a sweeping range of flavors. There is fruit and some oak, but often a lot of intriguing savory and herbal notes.
Wrath has two tasting rooms. One is in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s a nice room and very convenient to Carmel’s other amenities (which are numerous). I really recommend you visit the estate tasting room at San Saba though. That’s the way to really get a sense for the region. Consider taking a glass outside and taking a seat on one of their comfortable Adirondack chairs. Soak up the views.
Here are notes on the Wrath wines I’ve tasted most recently: