Mourvedre is the great studio musician of the wine world: It has the ability to make everything around it better than it otherwise would have been, but it rarely gets the spotlight on its own. (It does, however, get to star in Bandol, one of the most wonderfully evocative wines that too few Americans have ever tasted; that’s a whole other story.)
Still, when it is grown with care and vinified with love and vision, mourvedre has the potential to produce extraordinary wine -- certainly of high enough quality and deep enough character to warrant a bit of personal attention itself.
I was reminded of this recently when I tasted Quivira’s “Wine Creek Ranch” Mourvedre 2009, from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. With smoked or grilled meats -- or anything you’re likely to tuck into at a barbecue -- it’s a huge winner.
A side-note for those eco-minded wine drinkers: Quivira was one of the first biodynamic/organic and fully solar-powered estates in Dry Creek Valley, as well as a pioneer in the restoration of the steelhead and salmon habitat along Wine Creek.
Quivira “Wine Creek Ranch” Mourvedre 2009
Toasty oak, warm vanilla pod, cherry-balsamic, plum pudding, leather and spice on the nose lead to a palate of exuberant, juicy fruit spiced up by slightly floral peppercorns, wildly fresh mountain-berry cobbler, cherry and a pastry creme note. The sweetness of the fruit is balanced out by perfectly tuned peppercorn spice notes, and there’s also perhaps a hint of oregano and licorice just at the edges. What a charming, gulpable wine. Drink now throug 2014. (With 12 percent grenache)