I first came into contact with Wrath Wines during a Pinot Noir-focused tasting in SF. I was immediately drawn to the combination of elegance and rusticity they were able to capture into their wines. Indeed, working with fruit from Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highland AVA means working with some seriously structured fruit — even Pinot Noirs can be a bit harsh. Not so here.

I was delighted to find them in my package of SIP Certified wines and have the chance to dive deep into the varietal that (I think) they do so well.

About the Wine: The Wrath Wines 2015 Ex Vite Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Wrath estate San Saba Vineyard, “set in a sheltered nook just below the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.” The grapes were hand picked and hand sorted. 100% of the wine went through whole cluster fermentation — fermented to dryness. The wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels (25% new) for 11 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 19 months prior to release.

The Ex Vite wine series is SIP Certified.

ABV: 14.3%

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Wrath Wines 2015 Ex Vite Pinot Noir and it is not at all immediately aromatic. But if you put your nose to the top of the bottle neck you’ll smell the distinct aroma of clove. As the wine pours from bottle to glass, it appears a rusty purple-maroon, settling into the bowl of the glass as the very definition as rouge. It is completely see-through from core on out.

Aromas remain shy, but a deep breath in will find cranberries, black cherry, pine, and a clear acidic line. Swirl to enliven those fruits further and add to them a hint of baking spice and background of potpourri florals.

The palate of the Wrath Wines 2015 Ex Vite Pinot Noir is immediately rich, smooth, full, and solid. There’s an elegant use of acidity that rides from front to back at an even pace. The texture is pure silk from start to lingering finish. Tannins are but an afterthought. Dominant flavors are of red cherry, cherry wood, milk chocolate, molasses, a hint of baking spices, and a constant savory undercurrent of those cloves initially sensed from the bottle.

Food Pairing: I paired the Wrath Wines 2015 Ex Vite Pinot Noir with a salmon baked with tarragon butter and a spinach salad tossed with red beetroot, feta cheese, and caramelized onions. First of all, the meal equaled total yum.

What I loved about the pairing was the spinach and the tarragon brought out a bit of salinity in the wine I hadn’t sensed when sipping on its own. This, in turn, complemented the fish. Meanwhile the beetroot brought that undercurrent of dried flowers a little further center stage. The meal as a whole absolutely catered to the silky texture of the wine — one of my favorite features to be honest.

And with every sip that subtle clove. Delightful.

More Info: I received the Wrath Wines 2015 Ex Vite Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Faith!) For more information about Wrath, their wines, their SIP Certified Vineyards, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Wrath wines website.

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