14 October, 2009

"You say Monastrell I say Mourvedre" Wine Blogging Wednesday #62 - Part 2

Monastrell, Mourvedre, Mataro, oh my!

For this tasty little assignment the Brixchicks chose Monastrell,one of their favorite varietals, which we discovered has several aliases other than Mourvedre and Mataro*. It is true that we drink a lot of Monastrell from Spain (especially from Jumilla) and Mourvedre from California so I thought it was high time to taste Mourvedre from France. We gathered the wines a did a vertical tasting of: the the 2006 La Bastide Blanche from Bandol ($24.99), the 2006 M2 Monastrell from Alicante, Spain ($10.99) and the 2006 "River of Skulls" Mourvedre from Twisted Oak of Calaveras County, CA ($30.00.) I concentrated on the Mourvedre from France.

I searched high and low for a 100% Mourvedre which proved difficult as it is normally used for blending with other Rhone varietals (ie; Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault) to make Chateau Neuf de Pape from the South of France and other various Southern Rhone blends.

Through my thorough research I finally found the 2006 La Bastide Blanche from Bandol. Mourvedre is the most common red grape from the Bandol AOC, or wine region, which is situated near the Mediterranean Coast just east of Marseille in the region of Provence. The Mediteranean climate is perfect for the Mourvedre grape which takes a long time to ripen. Most winemakers in Bandol make blends of mostly Mourvedre. In fact, La Bastide Blanche uses at least 75% Mourvedre, according to the folks at K&L Wines, and is blended with Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan. So I was hoping this wine would give a good idea of how French Mourvedre expresses itself.

Mourvedre produces a dark, dense, intensely perfumatic wine. This Bandolian Mourvedre is the color of the darkest rubies. As soon as I poured it into the glass my nose was assaulted by the aromas of cassis and anise with underpinnings of tobacco,blackberry and cranberry. At first the tannins were overpowering but they smoothed out as I drank more. I got tangy cranberry and notes of black pepper on the palate. It is an elegant, balanced wine and not one element really stood out. Liza thought this would be the most "food-slutty" wine and it was a nice accompaniment to the fresh chanterelles she brought from Seattle.

For Liza's reviews of the Monastrell and Ca. Mourvedre go to: http://www.brixchicks.com/2009/10/wine-blogging-wednesday-62-you-say.html
In summary the Mourvedre from Bandol is like the elegant, well-dressed cousin of the complex, brooding, chain-smoking Spaniard M2 Monastrell while the River of Skulls Mourvedre is the fruity, California party-girl of this trio. One grape such different wines...

*For the other obscure names for Monastrell/Mourvedre please read Liza's post if you haven't already.


Iron Chevsky said...

Nice comparison in the end there, Xandria! You should definitely give Tempier a try. It's the nicest dressed one - mostly Mourvedre. Kermit wrote much about Tempier in his legendary book. Alder dedicated a post too: http://www.vinography.com/archives/2009/07/domaine_tempier_bandol_france.html. We had an older Tempier rouge for tasting at Vineyard Gate a few months back, and it was good. I can just picture it paired with some sort of Provecal meat casserole.

Dale Cruse said...

Thanks for joining us for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, Xandria. Here’s the link to the start of the roundup: http://drinksareonme.net/2009/10/15/wine-blogging-wednesday-62-a-grape-by-any-other-name/

Xandria said...

Thanks, Iron Chevsky! When I get my Christmas bonus then I can finally try the Tempier:) And thanks for the link to Alder's review.

And, thanks, Dale for the link to the roundup. Looking forward to reading everyone's contribution.