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Wrath Wines


A cutting-edge winery near the Santa Lucia Highlands

Located on the River Road Wine Trail in the Northern Monterey County, the daringly different Wrath Wines estate produces small lots of site-driven wines from their sustainably certified estate vineyard and other respected properties within the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.

This relatively new winery was founded in 2007 by Dr.
Michael Thomas and his mother Barbara Lemmon. They purchased the old San Saba Vineyards from Michael's stepfather and set out to dramatically change the estate's wine and viticulture program to produce terrior-inspired wines with attitude and passion. Now seven years later, their wines are topping critics' lists and Wine Spectator recently named Wrath Wines 'A Winery to Watch.'

Michael Thomas found his way into the winery business in a most interesting way. Born in Texas, Michael graduated from Duke University and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin. From early on in his academic career, Michael was drawn to Italy, and specifically the cultures of the Etruscans and Romans. Over the past (nearly) twenty years, he has lived on and off in Rome and run two excavations: a Roman site near Pompeii and an Etruscan site northeast of Florence. Michael has also spent time teaching at Southern Methodist University, the University of Michigan, Tufts University, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he currently directs the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy (CSAI).

While in Italy, Michael spent his free time discovering the hidden Italian restaurants, markets, and wine shops in the quaint hillside villages. Over the years, he naturally came to appreciate the art of Italian wine, and combining this passion with his years of working with soil as an archaeologist, he decided that joining the wine business was an appropriate direction.

Michael saw many similarities between the rural and fertile Salinas Valley and the dramatic countryside of Italy, so when the opportunity arose to purchase the 72-acre San Saba estate, he jumped at the chance.Michael and his mother worked closely with viticulturist Steve McIntyre to aggressively rejuvenate the old San Saba estate by replanting large sections of the vineyard to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc - varietals that thrive in the cool climate region of the Salinas Valley. Steve McIntyre also helped develop and implement a SIP certified sustainable farming program specifically tailored to the estate's unique conditions.

In addition to protecting the local environment, the Wrath winemaking team (which includes wine director Michael Thomas, winemaker Sabrine Rodems, and consultant Byron Kosuge) believes it allows them to produce wines that are more authentic and specific to the site's terrior.

Wrath Wines' inaugural 2007 vintage included a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and two Syrahs. Each wine impressively garnered 90+ scores from the top critics, fast-tracking this newcomer winery to become one of the hottest upper-echelon boutique producers in the region.

The name of the winery was initially inspired by a line in a Led Zeppelin song, "Going to California." The line "it seems that the wrath of the Gods got a punch on the nose" hit a trigger with Michael Thomas, as he had just moved to California to become part of the wine business and was very much learning on the go. He believed there existed to be a sort of "wrath" in the creative process, whether it be in art, music, or his case, wine and he also found that grape growers and winemakers are certainly at the hands of nature's "wrath." The more he thought about it, the word "wrath" exemplified the perfect attitude and name Michael wanted for his wines. Wrath Wines was born.

Today, the Wrath Wines portfolio has expanded quite significantly to include 9 Pinot Noirs, 4 Syrahs, 3 Chardonnays, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Grenache. They are all made in small, highly-sought-out quantities and show off cutting-edge, bold winemaking approaches such as clonal blending and whole-cluster fermentation. These experimental techniques, as well as the incredible critical acclaim these wines are receiving, has made Wrath Wines into a very exciting and unique project.

Michael Thomas couldn't be happier with the success of his Monterey winery and spends as much time as possible at the beautiful estate. He still maintains an archaeology research position at the University of Texas and escapes to Italy with his wife and children any chance he gets.


  1. Wrath
    2010 Pinot Noir
    Wrath
    Swan / 828
    Monterey County

    $34.00

    $40.00
    90 - Stephan Tanzer
    id: 2344
    Special
    Pinot Noir

Sabrine Rodems

One of Monterey's most innovative young winemakers, Sabrine Rodems is the talented winemaker behind the Wrath Wines brand. Sabrine began working at San Saba Vineyards in June of 2004 and was promoted to winemaker in March of 2006. When the property was purchased and renamed Wrath Wines in 2007, she and Michael Thomas developed a more rigorous farming standard and new, experimental winemaking methods that have proven to be very successful. Sabrine is also a board member of the Monterey Vintners and Growers Association and a member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture.

In addition to her winemaking role at Wrath Wines, Sabrine consults for Ventana Winery, makes wine for Kori Wines, and is the winemaker/owner of her own brand, Scratch Wines.

Sabrine was first exposed to the wine industry as a young child, when her parents would take the family on winery tours in the area. She grew up to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Theater, Film, and Television from UCLA and spent years working on set production before the lull of the wine industry truly set in. She went on to earn her Masters of Science in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, and spent time researching with the faculty while completing an internship at Gloria Ferrer Winery. Today, Sabrine is an exceptional winemaker in her own right, and her award-winning wines speak for themselves.

About The Region

Wrath's 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 and overlooking the Salinas Valley. This cooler climate growing region is heavily influenced by the morning fog and afternoon winds from the nearby Pacific Ocean. The vineyard sees little rainfall and has one of the longest growing seasons in the world, promoting the production of ripe, concentrated wines with exceptional balance. The San Saba Vineyard is planted to just under 68 acres of grapevines, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Muscat. Dr. Michael Thomas also recently added the obscure Italian varietal Falanghina, which is one of the most ancient Italian varietals and is just one of the many ways Michael is exploring the Romans' wine legacy. The San Saba Vineyard is overseen by veteran wine grower Steve McIntyre.


Portobello Burgers with Basil Goat Cheese Spread


Ingredients

4 large portobello mushrooms, stems sliced off
4 hamburger buns
4 oz. soft goat cheese
1 cup packed fresh basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Sea salt
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Optional toppings of choice (sliced tomato, caramelized onions, lettuce, etc.)


Instructions

Make the goat cheese spread first. In a food processor, combine the goat cheese, fresh basil, minced garlic and a teeny tiny pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Heat up grill to medium-high heat. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil all over each portobello cap. Sprinkle with salt. Grill mushrooms for about 6 minutes per side, or until they are very tender and juicy. Once grilled, assemble the burgers. Place a grilled mushroom cap on each bun, topped with a large spoonful of goat cheese spread and whatever additional toppings you choose.




Roasted Chicken Breast with Pinot Noir Sauce


Ingredients

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
8 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
3 Tbs finely chopped shallots
2 cups Pinot Noir
1 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 tsp sugar
3 Tbs chilled butter, cut into small pieces


Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and rosemary evenly over chicken. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour. Heat 1 1/2 tsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken breast halves to pan; cook 2 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil and remaining chicken.

Arrange chicken in a single layer on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots to saucepan; saute 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until wine is reduced to 1 cup. Add broth; cook 16 minutes or until broth mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and sugar. Gradually add butter, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Serve sauce with chicken.



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