A cutting-edge winery near the Santa Lucia Highlands
What does a prominent international Archaeologist do to satisfy his passion for fine wines and great foods?
Quite naturally, he teams with his mother and purchases the old San Saba property in the much-respected Santa Lucia Highlands AVA and renames the new operation Wrath Wines.
Wrath Wines? According to Dr. Michael Thomas, co-owner of Wrath Wines, “Wrath is in the wall of maritime fog that rolls into the Salinas Valley and the relentless afternoon winds that scream through our grape trellises.” He also uses the terms “unstoppable anger, edgy power, raw wails and violent splatters of paint,” to describe the meaning of wrath. It is Thomas’ feeling that the wrath of nature in producing grapes and the wrath of the creative process utilized during the winemaking process are somehow inexorably linked in his winery.
To be sure, Dr. Michael Thomas is an esteemed Archaeologist who has plied his trade in Italy exploring the cultures of the Etruscans and Romans. It is also the environment where he first developed his interest in wine. In addition to Archaeology, Thomas is a teacher and currently serves as the director for the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy at the University of Texas at Austin. He also runs two excavations in Italy: A Roman site (The Oplontis Project) near Pompeii and an Etruscan site (Poggio Colla) northeast of Florence.
In late 2007, an opportunity arose to purchase San Saba Vineyards and Thomas and his mother, Barbara, made the decision to enter the wine business. At the time, Thomas noted the many similarities between the rural and fertile Salinas Valley and the dramatic countryside of Italy. He immediately replanted large sections of the 60-acre estate vineyard with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah, which are his favorite varietals.
Incredibly, it only took two years for the first Wrath Wines to begin racking (literally) numerous international awards and acclaim from the wine industry. An unusually large number of 90+ scores followed and has continued unabated since 2009.
Like most successful winery operations of today, Michael Thomas had great foresight in putting together a top flight team to produce the wines. He retained grower Steve McIntyre to oversee the vineyards and replant the existing vines. McIntyre was named the 2103 Grower of the Year by the California Association of Winegrape Growers.
Another noted winemaker, Byron Kosuge, serves as a consultant to winemaker Sabrine Rodems, who, herself holds a Master’s of Science in Viticulture and Enology from the noted University of California Davis. Rodems was already the winemaker (since 2004) for the former owners of San Saba Vineyards and Michael Thomas liked what he tasted and appreciated the wines she had made. She was offered the winemaker job for Wrath Wines and has never looked back. Her record and scores (including international competitions and periodicals) attest to her vinification abilities.
The estate vineyard of Wrath Wines is sustainably certified and considered a cutting-edge winery among wine insiders. The term terroir-driven is one that fits Wrath Wines and its capricious owner, Michael Thomas, to the proverbial ‘T’.
The San Saba Estate Vineyard elicits praise from both Winemaker Sabrine Rodems and owner Michael Thomas. “This vineyard is set in a sheltered nook just below the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. We have preserved our ecosystem through our sustainable farming program,” added Rodems.
One of the winery’s Pinot Noirs was selected by wine educator Karen MacNeil (author of The Wine Bible) as one of only 12 presented to the Canadian Wine Industry as the Best of California Pinots.
Michael Thomas and his staff have bridged the rigors of the wine industry and Wrath Wines has become a leading producer of ultra-quality wines.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
It is a great pleasure to have our 2013 Wrath San Saba Vineyard Syrah featured in Gold Medal Wine Club's offerings. We believe this wine represented the best qualities of our estate Vineyard. Deep and expansive with layers of earthy tones, dark fruit and good structure, this wine pairs especially well with roasted and grilled beef, lamb and game.
What makes this Syrah so special is the unique growing environment of our estate San Saba Vineyard. Located at the base of the Santa Lucia highlands, and protected from the winds of the Salinas Valley, our vineyard offers cool nights and warm days throughout the growing season, which is one of the longest in North America. The result is a wine that exemplifies the savory and structured traits of cool-climate Syrah, but still reflects tell-tale California ripeness and richness.
We are confident that you will appreciate the quality of this Syrah and the wine-friendly climate and terroir of our vineyard.
Michael L. Thomas, Ph.D
Co-Owner and Wine Director
Sabrine Rodems - Winemaker
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 Master's 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. Sabrine is pleased to be sharing her wine with our Pinot Noir Wine Club members. Cheers from Sabrine.
About the Vineyard
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.