Mataro, Mourvedre, Monastrell, what EVER you want to say… JUST DON’T CALL IT GRACIANO. (sorry, Paso joke… you wouldn’t get it). Trying to remember the last Mourvedre I had. I honestly drink more Bandol and Monastrell than “Mourvedre”. This one is a gorgeous dark clear ruby–just a gorgeous wine in the glass: black/bruised-purple crimson with a pink edge. There was a distinct little bottle-funk at the first pour that had me scratching my head: burnt toast, Purina Chow, old carpet, which has breathed out quickly into far more characteristic dank ripe plum–without decanting. A bit Old-World-y, but not too much… I think it’s actually kinda hard to MAKE Mourvedre without glimmers of the old world. There’s something inescapable wired into it that makes the whole squished-bug/bruised-fruit/cellar-floor a calling card. Perhaps that is why so many people don’t like Mourvedre: it’s hard to do a “clean, fruit-driven wine” (that’s code, BTW, and an entire blog-post of its own, but when you hear it: RUN) appealing to the Saldo and 19 Crimes crowd with this grape, plain and simple. You can make Belle Glos, Seasmoke and Meomi out of Pinot, sure, but if someone’s done it with Mourvedre, please remind me: because I can’t think of one.
This one’s ripe, but not chubby. The smoky dankness on the nose wraps the dark fruit in loving arms and deposits it directly onto your tongue in a round and full manner. A better combination of *ripe* and *fresh* is hard to find. And there’s an edge to it, a steely razor edge–driven not so much by California sunshine but by terroir–telling me this thing will check in at considerably lower alcohol than most of its Paso likenesses. I’m going to go with 14-oh, mostly because a Paso wine in the 13’s is a shocking experience–and quite rare. Beautiful mellow cranberry, strawberry and Concord grape fruit washes effortlessly over the middle, holding tight to an acidic handrail into a finish fading away just about the same way: fruity and nice, complex and uncaring what you think, tannin integrated so well you have to look for it. Maybe that’s the whole thing about Mourvedre: Mourvedre doesn’t give a shit WHAT you think about it. Every other variety knockin themselves out trying to get your attention and promise the happy ending and Mourvedre is just, like: Dude, take it or leave it. I don’t need you to understand me–I don’t even care if you LIKE me. I’m good over here by myself. Nope, I’m not in the supermarket, nobody ever brings me to a Pampered Chef party, people have less trouble saying “Gewurztraminer” ferchrissakes but hey, I’m good. I’m OK with all that. Have a nice day. Leave me alone.
2016 POMAR JUNCTION Mourvedre El Pomar District Paso Robles 13.7