Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Mourvedre: Help hhotdog

Posted by Richard Foxall, Aug 19, 2010.

So our friend hhotdog had a bad experience with mourvedre (aka monastrell, mataro), but he's game to try again.  I say we come up with some recommendations.  Appellations, labels, prices and your best shot at describing it.  I'll look on my list at home and figure out just what it was I drank a week or so ago that was pretty good.  (Good enough to polish the whole bottle off.)  But help him out here especially if you are a big fan.  Maybe he should start with a blend?

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Replies

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 19, 2010.

Tempier!!

Pibarnon!

Bastide Blanche!

Pradeaux!

 

Bandol

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Reply by StevenBabb, Aug 20, 2010.

try this one from paso robles....

tablas creek vineyard, mourvedre 2006.... 90%mourvedre and 10%syrah....

 

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Reply by gregt, Aug 20, 2010.

Since it's originally from Spain, you need to try those first.  Yecla, Jumilla and the Valencia region are where to start.  It's done solo or in blends.  And of course as a component of any GSM from Australia or elsewhere.

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Reply by dynowine, Aug 21, 2010.

In my experience Monastrell almost always needs serious air time (e.g. 1-2 hrs in a decanter) or it will taste closed, perhaps even harsh.

Oh wow, your friend must try Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell 2007 from Jumilla.   Silver label.  Not expensive (USD$11 to $13).  It is just fabulous, not subtle however, but a good benchmark.

http://www.snooth.com/wine/juan-gil-jumilla-red-2007/

Also try a California one, Cline Ancient Vines Mourvedre, get the "Small Berry" if you can find it.   Again about USD$14, not pricey, and you need to let it air out, too.   Will be a bit more subtle than Juan Gil.

http://www.snooth.com/wine/cline-ancient-vines-contra-costa-mourvedre-2007/

 

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Reply by dynowine, Aug 21, 2010.

Looked back through my notes and this one (below) was decent, too, and has a good price.  Heck you could get three - Juan Gil or Hoya, Cline or Tablas, and a French one (Bandol), then decant and taste test the three side-by-side.   Only reminder, decant or likely face an unbalanced, closed, even harsh monster.

http://www.snooth.com/wine/bodegas-olivares-altos-de-la-hoya-finca-hoya-de-santa-ana-monastrell-2008/

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 21, 2010.

I can definitely second Greg's recommendation of Domaine Tempier from Bandol.

For a very good domestic take on the grape, though it's in a Rhonish GSM blend with only a little more than 1/3 mourvedre, try some Edmunds St. John Shell and Bone Red, sourced from Paso Robles fruit but made in Berkeley. I like his GSM blends better than those I've had from Australia, and it really makes me think of France, even though I taste the California soil in it.

Edmunds St. John does a very, very good job with southeastern French (syrah and gamay, too) varietals from various locations in California. Early on he was a Parker darling, but as Parker's vision grew to require more massive fruit, Edmunds fell out of favor, and he's been the object in recent years of some strangely personal bashing by Parker, who takes a 'love it or leave it' approach and states that if Edmunds wants to make more reticent French-style wines suited to aging he should move to France (while not perhaps daring to say the same about the Perrins at Tablas Creek).

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Reply by gregt, Aug 22, 2010.

Steve actually bottled a pure mourvedre at one point - I think in 1996 or something like that.  Had a few bottles of it and liked it a lot.  So did Fife if memory serves, although I may be mistaken there.

That bashing was just weird.  I never understood what was going on there.  In an odd way, it may have ended up helping Steve because he picked up the entire cohort of people who reflexively love whatever Parker doesn't, whether they've tasted it or not.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 22, 2010.

My favs are Anglim 2007 hastings ranch Mourvedre (paso robles) AND

Thomas Coyne 2007 Mourvedre, Contra Costa County

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 22, 2010.

Greg, I thought Edmunds did do a full mourvedre, but I haven't had it and didn't see any such current bottling on his website. Would be very curious to try. Somehow I think gaining the anti-RPs wasn't likely as economocially rewarding as the opposite, but quick fiscal rewards don't seem to be the guy's major driving motivation, and good for us that they aren't.

Napagirl, since you're so close to his operation (and access to his wine), you really should check it out....

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 22, 2010.

And Greg, are you taking about Fife Vineyards in Redwood Valley (though Snooth has them as Fife, UK)? I haven't had any of their wines, and know nothing about them. They any good?

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 22, 2010.

I will be in Berkeley this Fri to see Norah Jones and Corinne Bailey Rae at the Greek.  I can go early, as I do not work Fridays.  I will see if I can taste at Edmunds St. John.  Consider me on assignment!

But PLEASE... taste the two I suggested.. especially the Anglim.  They are PHENOMENAL.  Their red and white rhone style blends are to die for too.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 22, 2010.

Just emailed Ed st john.. not sure if they have a tasting room or not from the website, but man, the vino looks great!  Will let you know...

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Reply by gregt, Aug 23, 2010.

D -  ESJ doesn't do it any more.  Had financial problems and that particular variety wasn't a huge seller so he cut back a few years ago. Now I think he only does syrah from various sites and also a gamay.  Small operation, good wines, and he's a good guy. 

Fife was similar but they're a little bit bigger.  Steve was a printer or something like that who started wine as a hobby but he was just really good at it.  The owner of Fife on the other hand was formerly a VP with Inglenook and then BV and I forgot where else and finally in 1991 he started his own place.  He had good connections and knew the business and the real estate.

He's actually got 2 - one office in Napa and one up in Mendocino.  One of the few wineries still doing a zin in Napa, mostly because he has the vines I guess, but credit him for not ripping them out and planting cab.  They're in Spring Mountain I believe and the zin is really good - lower alc than the cab because he wants to make a restrained style.  It seems to age really well - I've got them going back to the early 1990s.  Up north, they made a number of other bottlings and for a while had a whole slew of Italian grapes - barbera, dolcetto, charbono, etc., but they also had economic problems and I think they cut back on most of those.  Now they do cab, merlot, syrah, petite sirah, and zin and I'm not sure if they do much more than that.  The zin from Napa is far better than those from up north tho.

Both producers are pretty good and worth looking for.  Alas, I don't think either does a mourvedre any more!

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 23, 2010.

Steve Edmunds is one of California's most gifted winemakers.

Fife was originally founded by Dennis Fife, who left Inglenook after their late 80s attempts at resurrection.

While there he fell in love with Charbonon, and developed an appreiation of quirky wines in general. They, Fife, bottled many Zins, Barbera, Charbono, and rhone varietals. There was also the Maxx Cuvee rhone blend, great stuff and L'atitude 39, a cotes du Rhone styled blend.

I think there was a Mourvedre from the Redhead vineyard.

I'll look into their incorrect location.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 23, 2010.

Well, Napagirl, that's three pretty strong recommendations regarding the Edmunds SJ wines. Very much looking forward to hearing about your encounter with them.

GregDP, come to think of it, I do remember hearing about the Fife charbonos. Is my guess correct that they're not making them anymore? Were they any good? And are any circulating in the marketplace?  Color me curious. I drank cases of the Inglenook version back in the late '70s....

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Reply by gregt, Aug 23, 2010.

Fife has or had a tasting room up in Mendocino - I've been there a couple of times and it's really got a stunning view of the lake out the back window.  Gorgeous.

The Spring Mtn didn't have a tasting room.  They went into Chapter 11 back in 2003 or 2004.  Then one of the partners who owned a big chunk had his own bankruptcy problems and the Mendocino property had another ownership change.  I don't know exactly what's happening with them now.  They dropped most of the Italian varieties and stuck w the Rhones - Max Cuvee, l'Attitude, etc., and the zins - Redhead, Sonoma, etc., but I haven't really seen them around all that frequently recently.  

I wish them well.  Only met Dennis a couple of times but he was very gracious and humble and the wines were always good.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 23, 2010.

Well, got an email from ESJ, and they do not have a tasting room.  Their website does have links to distributors who handle their wines, so one can find who has it....

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Reply by Kimberly H, Aug 23, 2010.

I had the Contra Costa California Amaze Mourvedre 2006 on Saturday night at a wine dinner, and if it wasn't for the 16.5 % alcohol, I would have had a second glass.  I thought it was smooth and rich, but because it retails for around $40-$50 bucks, which is quite a bit more than I usually spend on an every day bottle, I probably wouldn't rush out and buy a bottle.

I will say it paired absolutely beautifully with the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with blueberry Mourvedre reduction sauce it was paired with at the wine dinner, though!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 24, 2010.

Napagirl: Pretty sure you can find the Edmunds St John Wines at most of the Berkeley and North Oakland wine shops and maybe even BevMo in Jack London Square. I'll check over the next few days.  (I work right across from BevMo and CostPlus World Market, so even when I can't get to Wine Mine or Paul Marcus, I can pick up the odd bottle.  Like MonteVina Barbera, on sale at WM now...)

I second the recommendation of the '07 Juan Gil, which I bought at one of Vintage Berkeley's shops.  Wine Expectorator made it a top 100 as well, if that matters to you.  And I agree that wines that seem to have off flavors or odors, typical of some varietals,  generally do benefit by decanting, as the odors can blow off.  For reds, I keep a half liter carafe around and use it for anything that doesn't thrill me immediately upon opening.  David at WineMine thinks the Vinturi (I have a firend who carries one in her purse--think she has a problem?) is worth a half hour of decanting.  Add another half hour in the decanter and there you go. More or less. 

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Reply by hhotdog, Aug 24, 2010.

snooth to the rescue!  thanx guys love the advice and insight.  only been drinking wine for about 16 years and wish i had more valuable resources earlier on.  snooth is like having a "gang" of wine experts as a friend!  will look into the wines suggested and hope out here in southern ct. they are available.  i do the occasional shop online for wine so the option isn't that unusual.  keep it coming "gang"!

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