Mourvèdre. There’s nothing quite like it, and if you’re looking for a different wine experience, here it is!
The inspiration began many years ago with Brandlin Vineyard—home to my flagship Zinfandel, as well as a handful of Mourvèdre vines, or as they referred to it in the old days, “Mataro.” Over the years I produced two vintages from Brandlin, and they became some of my most sought after wines. Enter Red Hills Lake County, a site I always thought had much in common with Mount Veeder, at an even higher elevation. A tiny crop—too small to bottle on its own--in 2012 made us optimistic, and we were rewarded with both the 2013 and 2014 vintages.
For those not all that familiar with variety, Mourvèdre is widely planted in Spain—thought to have originated there in fact—as well as in southern France. Unless planted in the proper areas it can be prolific, hard, and not terribly appealing. When planted in the right location, it is magically transformed.
Fore Family Vineyard is a spectacular property, situated at 3000 feet elevation. Soils are thin in the Red Hills and drain instantly. The elevation places vines well above the hot summer heat trapped in the valleys below, and aligns them in the path of cool westerly Pacific breezes. At the same time, there is paradoxically greater solar intensity that has some inexplicable effect on the grapes. Because of the high elevation, the differential between day and night time temperatures is dramatic, resulting in intensely flavored grapes.
We were graced with another outstanding vintage in 2014—in fact I just checked my notes and my comment on the final day of harvest, “sensational!” Sunshine and a warm dry spring gave way to mild and ideal growing conditions throughout the summer. An uneventful growing season without extremes is always welcome. Harvest began early and finished early, avoiding the potentially cool and rainy autumn conditions.
A bit darker and denser than the 2013, our 2014 Mourvèdre seduces you with its intriguing floral notes—rose petal--allspice, raspberry and anise. Still maintaining its youth, the mouth is full, rich, and lush and offers complex spice and berry components across the palate. After a year in the bottle, its elements are coming nicely together in a harmonious and well-structured fashion. Lots of pleasure to be discovered here.
If you’re tired of seeing the same wines over and over again in the marketplace, here’s your chance to take an adventure and explore this unique and exotic varietal!