This is an interesting wine because of its aptitude to change in the bottle. When Mourvèdre is young, it takes on smoky, meaty, herbaceous aromas and flavors (almost as if the wine if off). With age these adverse flavors turn to plumy, currant, cherry and tobacco, which are more pleasing to the palate. The 2010 vintage has brighter fruit than past vintages (especially 2008 which was warmer). Juicy black currant and plum enliven the palate and linger softly and elegantly, rendering into a sweet earth and coffee finish.
The grapes cold soaked for 3-5 days prior to fermentation. Fermentation went to dryness and lasted 14-18 days. The wine was then lightly pressed to maintain a delicate balance between flavors, color and tannins. The 2010 Mourvèdre spent 17 months in French oak barrels before bottling in April 2012.
Called Monastrell in its native region of Spain, Mourvèdre is most famous in Southern Rhône for its blending capabilities. Notoriously playing the role of “M” in GSM blends, its beautiful dark color and high acid and tannin attributes offset that of its lesser Rhône comrades. The varietal thrives in the red volcanic soil found on Shannon Ridge Vineyard in High Valley, Lake County. This spot produces fruit with deep, rich flavors due to the cooling affects of nearby Clear Lake.
In 2010 the vineyard experienced one of the coolest summers in 50 years and fought mildew all season. The heat spikes that hit in August and October wiped out as much as 20% of the harvest. Six inches plus of rain in the third week of October put an end to it all— leaving fruit hanging. All that said, and even a little bit bewildering, the grapes that made it through the gauntlet tasted excellent and made some excellent wines. They had beautiful flavors, velvety textures and contours. Sugars were lower than normal, which means less alcohol. label art by: Gregory Amenoff, Kerhonkson, New York