Also known as Monastrell and Mataro, Mourvedre is a grape most known for its use as a blending grape in the Southern Rhone Valley of France. It is the “M” is GSM blends (along with Grenache and Syrah). Mourvedre is also the primary variety in some wines in the South of France, most notably in the Bandol region. Mourvedre loves the heat, and it has recently been finding a home in California, including in the Sierra Foothills where it is showing particularly promising potential. Foothills versions tend to be a little lighter and fruitier than their Old World counterparts.
FOOTHILLS WINO MOURVEDRE OF THE YEAR
It might come as a shock to some that a producer more known for traditional Amador County varieties would take top prize in this difficult category, but this beautiful wine knocked our socks off. Though perhaps not possessing as much classic typicity as some of the other Mourvedres on this list, this wine is so intense, complex, balanced, and delicious, it stood out above the rest. It is equal parts crowd pleaser and snob pleaser, which is almost never said for a Mourvedre. We wonder if the folks at Bella Grace even know what they have in this gem of a wine, and we can't wait to try future vintages... but don't wait to grab as much of this one as you can!
OTHER FAVORITE FOOTHILLS MOURVEDRES
Now this is everything you could want from a Mourvedre! It has the perfect combination of fruit, herbs, and funk that only this variety provides. The fruit is a brooding mix of red and black. This is as Old World as the New World can get. The wine is very cerebral and will speak to all corners of your brain if you take the time to listen.
It is almost impossible to make a great Mourvedre from a young vine, but winemaker Jessica Tarpy Shaheen has done just that. As these vines mature, this wine will be fun to watch evolve.
This Mourvedre has all of the intensity and complexity we have come to expect from this producer. In addition to the fresh red fruit and dried herbs like tarragon and oregano, this has all of the funk you want from a Mourvedre. It is, of course, perfectly balanced as all of Michael Long's wines are, and it is full of life on the palate with a finish that lingers long and hauntingly.
This recent Double Gold winner at the SF Chronicle competition is a great example of the wines from this producer and is the only Top Six coming from the Apple Hill/Camino sub-region in El Dorado County. Baking spices, dill, cedar, and smoke lead the way on the nose, and then some sweet cherries emerge ohe palate. This is an excellent wine for the uninitiated to start to appreciate this variety.
An expected delight from this classic Rhone Ranger, this wine has everything you want from a Foothills Mourvedre. Holly's Hill actually offers three versions of their Mourvedre including a fascinating stem inclusion one, so be sure to stop in and try them all.