Full of color, ripe fruit, plenty of texture and earthy goodness, Mourvèdre is an important grape in many key regions in the south of France, as well as in Spain and the New World. Mourvèdre is actually of Spanish provenance (there known as Monastrell or Mataro) and is the key variety in Alicante, Jumilla and Yecla. It truly thrives, however, in Provence’s Bandol region, where it shines on its own as a single varietal red and in Southern Rhône where it palys a major part in blends . It is also of great importance in the Southern Rhône alongside Grenache and Syrah—and in California and Australia, as a single varietal wine or in Rhône blends.
Saturday, Nov 30th
[Parking In Back]
2017 I.Brand & Family
Enz Vineyard Mourvèdre
Lime Kiln Valley, California
Ian Brand did not set out to make these wines. He discovered great vineyards at the edge of sensible farming and decided to bring them to light.
The farther he looked, the more he found – remote, challenging vineyards, with hard depleted soils, and intense sunlight tempered only by the coastal breeze. Vineyards capable of producing only the most idiosyncratic wines. His goal as a winemaker is to lightly polish the roughest edges and leave the idiosyncrasy intact. It is here in the back country, filled with individual character
” We are not in “wine country.” We have no trophy wineries, nor posh tasting salons. This is farm land, desolate hills, and solitude. What we do is simple, without artifice, and we enjoy it.” – Ian Brand
Wine Enthusiast 93 Points: From old vines in a nearly forgotten corner of California comes this vibrant and delicious wine by Ian Brand, loaded with tightly focused black raspberry, pepper and dark rose petals on the dynamic nose. The palate is framed by a tight structure and refreshing acidity, delivering flavors of rose hips, hibiscus, cracked peppercorn and crisp red to purple fruits. This one is very lively.
2014 Big Basin Vineyards
Homestead Rhone Blend
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 on an historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The old ranch property was first settled in the late 1800s. Wine grape cultivation had been started by French immigrants by the early 1900s and continued until 1965 when the property was sold by Justin Lacau, who had named the property “Frenchie’s Ranch”, to a timber company. By the 1990s, all that remained of the vineyards were redwood stakes and scattered vines hidden by brush and poison oak bushes.
Wine Advocate 92 Points: The juicy, red fruited, spicy, meaty and leather-scented 2014 Homestead (35% Mourvèdre, 27% Grenache, 19% Carignan and the rest Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) is medium to full-bodied, nicely textured, balanced and loaded with character. It’s beautiful already, but has the density and balance to evolve through 2024.
2015 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré – Bandol Rouge
Alain Pascal could be a character pulled right out of a Marcel Pagnol novel—a kind of Provençal Hercules. Like his father, Honoré, for whom the domaine is named. This gentle giant and his cuvées are all heart. Of the many stories recorded in Kermit Lynch’s Inspiring Thirst, those of Alain are among the most entertaining. For years he sold his prized fruit from Bandol to Domaine Ott and Château de Pibarnon. Though he and his father would bottle their own wine for family consumption, they never labeled it under their own domaine name. Kermit has called those early family wines, “Magnificent Bandols made in the simplest manner, très franc de goût, with a whole lotta soul.” In 1997 after his father’s death, Alain officially started Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, a real shift that has brought him more than just casual notice. Alain is already a leading contender in Bandol, the appellation regarded as the grand cru of Provence.
Wine Advocate 93 Points: One of my favorite 2015s, Gros Noré’s 2015 Bandol is a complex, savory offering with at least 15 years of life ahead of it. Dark, plummy fruit picks up notes of mocha, roasted meat and mushrooms on the medium to full-bodied palate. Rich and velvety from start to long, long finish, this is nice, nice stuff, a blend of 80% Mourvèdre with 15% Grenache and 5% Cinsault aged in foudres.
2015 Domaine Leon Barral
Didier Barral represents the thirteenth generation to grow grapes in the tiny hamlet of Lenthéric, within the confines of the Faugères appellation deep in the heart of the Languedoc. While his forebears made a living off of cultivating the vine, Didier took the family business to the next level when he began estate-bottling and commercializing his wines on a larger scale in 1993. Named for Didier’s grandfather, Domaine Leon Barral is a beacon of revolutionary winegrowing: shortly after founding the domaine, Didier decided that biodynamic practices were the best choice for farming his thirty hectares of vineyards. He has pioneered numerous innovative agronomic techniques with the goal of establishing his vineyards as a self-sustaining ecosystem. This Renaissance man, naturalist, and biodynamic maven commands tremendous respect among his peers for his visionary approach to topics like soil management, pest control, and drought mitigation in his vineyards.
Decanter 94 Points: The domaine’s top cuvee, Valinière, uses Mourvèdre 80% & Syrah 20% from northern-facing vines. The cooler, northern exposure allows the grapes to remain on the vines longer, giving added maturity, greater concentration of flavors, and increased complexity. The Mourvèdre balances out, with its freshness and graphite flavors, the ultra-mature Syrah grapes. Its initial hint of animal, meat-like aromas (that, with some aeration, are soon tamed by the black fruit and fresh herbs.)