Satellite Wine Club, September 2017
Mas des Brousses - Terraces du Larzac, Coteaux de Languedoc, FR
Piedrasassi - Harrison Clarke Vyd. Red, Ballard Canyon, CA
Happy Labor Day (and every day after) Winestronauts!
This September we continue to focus our gaze towards Syrah, and something more. Last month our focus was laser, Syrah in two ways… this month we meet a new friend: Mourvedre.
Sharing the spotlight and effecting new flavors, Mourvedre is this month’s garnish. It is the cherry on top, it is the pop of freshness, it is the interest, the zest, hell, it’s the best.
A longer, thicker skinned and more berry-dense bunch than its syrah counterpart, Mourvedre offers a powerful accompaniment to its more famous brother. With a heady, powerful aroma of blackberries, gamey/wild cured meats, and sometimes notes of menthol. It’s a grape brimming with character, representative of its naissance, a perfect window into a growing season’s climate and the rugged slopes it comes from.
Mourvedre is known as many things to many peoples: Mataro in Catalunya and the new world, Monastrell, Ros, Gayata, or Alcayata in Spain and Balzac Noir, Catalan, Espagnen, or even Espar in France. First recorded in use as early as 1381 in Valencia, Spain, Mourvedre is suspected to have been part of winemaking since 500 BC when the Phoenicians [maybe] brought it to the Iberian Peninsula. It loves hot places, it buds late and ripens later, and is best grown where white linen pants are the norm. Regardless of its origin or its growing area, Mourvedre is a clear and distinguished grape with an essential voice in each blend.
Today it is most famously grown in Bandol where it occupies at least 50% of the blends. You will find shades of that classic appellation in this month’s wine club offering: Mas de Brousses - Terasses du Larzac. Here it offers your glass a splash of both meat and mountain chaparral. Splash this grape next to a rack of lamb and watch the smiles surface as if by flavor magic.
Today we learn about Mourvedre, riding on the back of delightful Syrah. I lucked out and found two wonderful wines of the same vintage, of the same blend, and of the same essential respect for the fruit and vineyards. While grown a world apart, these wines are brothers through and through. Please join me in this delightful trip down the Mourvedre rabbit hole.
Mas de Brousses - Terrasses du Larzac 2014 - Coteaux de Languedoc AOC
Languedoc Rousillon, FR
Hello Darkness my old [classic] friend,
This is the wine I taste when I dream of Mourvedre. Balanced on the scales of power and pleasure, this wine is deep, it is reflective of the dusty minerality of its vineyard and the wild chaparral that surrounds it. The first scent is a spicey blackberry tart, the second is a gamey roast with sprigs of rosemary and whiffs of mint jelly. I find myself drinking this wine through its powerful nose.
When I finally put it on the tongue, its tannins are soft, ripe, and welcoming. The mouth is medium bodied but incredibly intense flavors delight me. Reflective of the brilliant nose, we find blackberry tart, summer stew, and the bright sunshiney hills of Languedoc. This wine is the bomb.com
A classic region for Mourvedre, the hills of Languedoc are as good a home as any. Just up the road from Bandol, this wine drinks like it and better than many. It is made with a skillful and soft hand, hardly changing the natural direction of fermentation. This is a country wine for hot nights in the hills, for cool nights by the hearth. It is a summer red, it is a landmark in the world of Mourvedre and Syrah. From here we gauge the quality of others.
As usual, serve it lightly chilled amongst people you care for.
$24 @ Satellite SB
Piedrasassi - Harrison Clarke Vyd Red - Ballard Canyon
Santa Barbara County, CA
Rub a dub-dub, two grapes in a tub,
Syrah and Mourvedre by a Baker, no butcher or candlestick maker. Bad re-rhyming aside, Piadrasassi is also a bakery. A wonderful bakery in fact. Famous for their use of real grains, grown themselves, and real grapes, grown themselves. Piedrasassi is Sashi Moorman and his wife Melissa Sorongon (and friends Peter & Amy). This team of gourmands, classic food-minds, and generally fun people make amazing things.
One of Sashi’s many amazing wine projects, Piedrasassi is where he plays with the deep darkness of Syrah. This is their first vintage with Mourvedre and an incredible accomplishment. The addition of Mourvedre to their Syrah brings balance. It brings an eclectic and electric flare to balance the fast ripening Syrah from this hot vintage.
Harrison Clarke’s classic Santa Barbara vineyard runs deep in this wine with a distinct earth note from smell to sip. Backed with more ripe fruit than it’s Languedoc brother, this spices run equally deep and developed. This wine is so pleasant on the tongue, you will find it goes with your meal, the one you’ll want to have just so you can showcase the beautiful bottle it comes in. . .
Piedrasassi is one of the most serious wineries in California. They are deliberate and focused on quality, taking classic queues and creating classic vintages right here in our backyard. Love this wine and treat it well. It will keep for years or it will delight you tonight. Just be sure to share, as there is not much left.
180 6-pack Cases Produced
$44 @ Satellite SB
This month we learn about Mourvedre by drinking it. It is so beautiful, as is the month of September. Send your kids back to school, go back to work, and celebrate life this month with your new friend: Mourvedre.
This is September at Satellite.