Tasting Group: Mourvèdre from Anywhere



By Kori ~ November 2nd, 2010.

Since we live in Washington State and often drink wines from Washington State, we want to make sure that we continue to hone our knowledge of the entire world of wine and maintain well-rounded palates in order to make us even more objective when we evaluate wines from Washington State. Therefore, we are thoroughly enjoying our Wine Peeps Tasting Group which includes what we think is an excellent peer group of knowledgeable wine lovers to taste, share, and learn more about wine together. Unlike our monthly wine tasting dinners in which the guests rotate, this tasting group includes people who are committed to getting together once a month which we believe benefits all of us. In addition to trying varieties and regions that we do not taste frequently, the other main difference between this group and our wine tasting dinners is that each group member brings a bottle consistent with the month’s theme so no one knows all the wines in the blind tasting.

Last week, we met and explored Mourvèdre. Unlike our previous tasting group meetings, which have focused on a particular varietal from a specific region, this tasting simply focused on the varietal and each group member was free to bring a bottle of Mourvèdre from any region in the world. The only requirement was that it was either varietally-labeled as Mourvèdre (or a Mourvèdre synonym such as Mataro or Monastrell) or, for countries that do not varietally-label, it must contain at least 75% Mourvèdre. Mourvèdre is a late-ripening variety that often produces tannic, high alcohol wines that are characterized by aromas and flavors of game, earth, and red fruits. It is often used as a blending grape in Rhone-style wines, frequently with Grenache and Syrah.

We tasted nine bottles of Mourvèdre from around the world, and the consensus favorite was the 2008 Rasa Vineyards Vox Populi Mourvèdre from Washington State. I was glad to see this wine do well in the blind tasting because I had been particularly impressed with it on our recent visit to Rasa Vineyards in Walla Walla. The Mourvèdre that goes into Rasa’s Vox Populi was originally sourced to be a blending grape in their QED (a Syrah/Grenache/Mourvèdre blend). However, when some of their winemaker friends tasted barrel samples of it, they commented on how remarkable it was. Even some collectors who tasted it offered to buy it in futures and asked them to bottle at least some of it by itself. Therefore, Vox Populi or “voice of the people” was born.

Of the nine wines we tasted, three were from France, two were from Spain, one was from Australia, and three were from Washington State. I was especially excited to see how favorably the Washington wines performed against peers from around the world. The three wines from Washington State finished first, second, and fourth in the group consensus rankings.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2008 Rasa Vineyards Vox Populi Mourvèdre (Minick Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Mourvèdre. Deep, purplish ruby red. Gorgeous nose with red and black fruits, plum, raspberry, smoked meats, game, spice and white pepper on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, medium to high drying tannins and a long finish. Big yet smooth and well-balanced.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $45

2006 Syncline Mourvèdre (Coyote Canyon Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): 100% Mourvèdre. Deep, dark purplish red in color. Very aromatic with red fruits and spice on the nose. Game, earth, smoked meats, red fruits, and a hint of spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with very crisp acidity and medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: PCC Natural Market (Seattle, Washington), $22; Available elsewhere, $29

2008 Juan Gil Monastrell (Jumilla, Spain): 100% Monastrell. Deep, ruby red. Very aromatic with dusty, smoky, and black pepper aromas that lead to chalky flavors, ripe red fruits, meat, and a hint of coffee. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, medium to high, drying tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $16; Available elsewhere, $10 to $19

2006 Trio Vintners Mourvèdre (den Hoed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 96% Mourvèdre, 4% Syrah. Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with cinnamon, spice, and perfume on the nose. Game, ripe red fruits, and smoke come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high, drying tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $20; Available elsewhere, $27

2007 Hewitson “Old Garden” Mourvèdre (Barossa Valley, Australia): Deep, ruby red. Aromatic with dirt, earth, and red fruits on the nose; earth and ripe red fruits on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: K&L Wine Merchants (California), $42; Available elsewhere, $33 to $42

2006 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Cuvée Estagnol (Bandol, Provence, France): Deep, dark ruby red. Peppermint, dirt, and earth on the nose lead to more earth and barnyard notes on the palate. Medium-bodied and lively with medium to high, slightly bitter, tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $32; Available elsewhere, $30

2007 Viña Honda Monastrell (Jumilla, Spain): 100% Monastrell. Deep, ruby red in color. Nose is a bit tight at first, and then cardboard, oak, and cracked black pepper come through. Grapefruit rind, red plum, and chalky notes on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and tart with medium, drying tannins, and a long, somewhat bitter, finish. Very different profile than the others in the tasting.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: K&L Wine Merchants (California), $10; Available elsewhere, $10 to $14

2008 Domaine Astruc dA Mourvèdre (Vins de Pays du Languedoc, France): Deep, dark purplish red. Smoke, red fruits, game, and earth come through on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, medium to high, drying tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $10

2005 Chateau Pibarnon Bandol (Bandol, Provence, France): 90% Mourvedre. Deep, ruby red. Stinky cheese, expired milk, dirty diapers, and barnyard aromas lead to stinky cheese and rotten eggs on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, medium to high, drying tannins, and a long finish. The aromas and flavors are not pleasant. Not sure if it’s just a flavor profile we don’t like or whether this bottle actually had a problem.
Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to buy: K&L Wine Merchants (California), $40; Available elsewhere, $30 to $53


Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, French Wine, Mourvedre, Red Wine, Spanish Wine, Tasting Group, Washington State Wine, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Stevie | November 3rd, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I really enjoy Mourvèdre and am certain that your tasting would have been a lot of fun. I do wonder about why you ended up rating and scoring the wines if the purpose of the tasting was to keep familiar with wines in this variety from the world. I cannot really understand what the first has to do with the second.

  2. Tasting Group: Mourvèdre from Anywhere | Lashonderosset's Blog | November 4th, 2010 at 3:29 am

    [...] Tasting Group: Mourv̬dre from Anywhere was originally posted on Wine Peeps on Tue, 02 Nov 2010 14:00 UTC. Wine Peeps РYour link to great QPR wines from Washington State and beyond. [...]

  3. Kori | November 6th, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Stevie,
    Yes, this tasting was a lot of fun. Wine ratings are a controversial subject, but we believe that ratings are necessary. We believe that they give our readers a point of reference and may help them identify wines they would like to try. And also, we find them helpful in our own record keeping and database of wines we’ve tasted to see how these wines compared to other Mourvedre wines we’ve had in the past. Cheers!

  4. Tasting Group: Mourvèdre from Anywhere | Ryanbirchett's Blog | November 9th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    [...] Tasting Group: Mourv̬dre from Anywhere was originally posted on Wine Peeps on Tue, 02 Nov 2010 14:00 UTC. Wine Peeps РYour link to great QPR wines from Washington State and beyond. [...]

  5. Tasting Group: Mourvèdre from Anywhere | Vickytallo's Blog | November 10th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    [...] Tasting Group: Mourv̬dre from Anywhere was originally posted on Wine Peeps on Tue, 02 Nov 2010 14:00 UTC. Wine Peeps РYour link to great QPR wines from Washington State and beyond. [...]

  6. itsoffal | May 23rd, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I would say that Chat de Pibarnon must have been a bad bottle.
    Dirty diapers and expired milk not so good. But what’s wrong with Stinky cheese and barnyard aromas. I tend to find wines from Bandol to have that sort of – Saddle leather and most pleasing to my taste. Piacere mucho : – )) and their rose’ ain’t bad either, but that’s a different subject.

  7. Kori | May 24th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    itsoffal,
    You may be right. As I wrote in the post, the Chateau Pibarnon Bandol was the consensus last place for our group. Since I have not had a lot of Bandol, I wasn’t certain whether some of the flavor profile was characteristic of the area or not. Yes, dirty diapers and expired milk is not so good. By themselves, stinky cheese and barnyard aromas are not necessarily bad but together with the other unpleasant aromas and flavors, I did not feel that this particular bottle deserved more than 2 stars. Cheers!