May 22, 2013

Interview with Winemaker Sabrine Rodems

Just recently there was opportunity to spend some quality time with winemaker Sabrine Rodems at the Wrath Vineyards Tasting room in Monterey County near Soledad. No one in their right mind is letting that slip by. Ok, so Kiwi is not in his right mind (previous commitment whatever). Being somewhat familiar with the wines of this winery even before it was Wrath  made this an exciting opportunity. While the wines were always good, there has been a steady increase in wine quality over the years. In the last five to six years, a steady release of good to great wines from this winery. With a large range of wine styles made there is guaranteed to be a couple you will love. Sabrine has been with Wrath since 2004 and while the results have been well showcased with great scores in the 'Wine Magazines' there is a lot more to Sabrine and Wrath than just good wine scores.

In the famous words of Monty Python;
Q. What is your quest?
Sabrine: I want to make wines that with food, bring families together around the dinner table. I want to encourage peoples interest in wine, and to break down some of the barriers that make people uncomfortable with the wine culture. I hope to make people comfortable with wine and all that goes with its enjoyment. I would also love in the next five years for one of Wrath's wines, Pinot Noir, Syrah, or Chardonnay, to be a 'Wine Spectator Wine of the Year'! (we don't doubt this may happen)

Q. When did you first have an interest in wine and how did that manifest itself?
Sabrine: As a child, my sisters and brother and I were hauled around to all the wineries and farm tours in Sonoma and Napa. Back in the day, all those things were free and Mom would take us on all the tours, whether it be to a chicken farm or a winery. Not only were they free but they were very interesting and sparked curiosity which became educational. On occasion we would even get a sip of wine! There were many great experiences that planted the seed that grew into an interest in science.
As an adult, my brother in law became a collector of wine and is a very detail oriented person so along with the collection was also every known fact about it. This was a re-connection with wine that still goes on every day. Between the science and the product, it's an educational road that continues to call.

Q. How did you get started?
Sabrine: While at UC Davis I did a 6-8 week internship at Gloria Ferrer. Along with the bubbles they make a lot of still wine. I finished my Master's of Science in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis and went to work at Wrath in 2004.

Q. What do you think separates you from other winemakers?
Sabrine: I think it’s the ability and opportunity that I have here at Wrath to experiment and try different things. We often have about five experiments that we have planned each year, but usually only end up moving forward on only two or three. These trials allow me to check the science against the intuition and I am lucky to get to do that here. 

Q. If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
Sabrine: I would be teaching in the wine industry. Probably teaching sensory classes. The sensory side of wine has often been done in a way that makes a lot of people afraid to fully engage. It's not rocket science and it can be a lot of fun. I really like sharing the process and I enjoy watching people learn, experience, loose the fear and embrace the new knowledge.

Coming full circle. Q. What is your favorite color?
Sabrine: Orange.

Having the opportunity to talk with Sabrine, and taste the current release wines of Wrath throughout the conversation, made for a great day. Her passion and energy is contagious, and one can only believe that the best is yet to come. Her technical knowledge is clear, and her passion she wears on her sleeve. But that is only part of the package, as there is also her intuition that helps guide her choices when the science has run its course. This is where the difference between good and great wines is found, in the decisions that are made with the heart or the force or that gut feeling. Sabrine is driven to understand and yet understands that some things will never be understood. To quote Sabrine 'Winemaking is the best of both worlds, the amalgamation of science and art.'

Go by one of the Wrath tasting rooms and experience for yourself the award winning wines of Wrath and the magic that Sabrine brings to them. We 'recommend' you do.

Kiwi & Koala

Wrath wines are available for purchase and tasting at both of our tasting rooms.  Both of them!

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