We will be releasing Sommaro, a Mourvedre blend to members of our Collector's Circle wine club in July. This wine is our third such blend of Rhone varieties.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Jennifer Fazio, our Director of Operations and Cheese Monger to the Stars, and Cindy Turchino, our Tasting Room Manager, to taste and talk about the last two vintages of Mourvedre.
Mourvedre is not a well-known variety in America. It appears in Southern French blends and more recently in GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends from Australia. I think Mourvedre is one of those quintessentially "just drink it, it goes great with food kind of wines."
There is a rusticity, and leathery texture (more prominent in Stairway our 2006 release than in '07) to go along with dark plum fruit, wild strawberry notes, and nice tannin. Jennifer commented on the dramatic black pepper-quality in the nose ("a snootful of pepper" were her exact words). "You'll think it's white," she said to me, "but it's black pepper." Just for the record...it is white pepper! Cindy got "hints of fresh cut herbs on the nose" and a "smooth flow of blackberries from the tip of [her] tongue through mid palate and a finish that is velvety soft."
Surprisingly, for our resident white wine and Pinot Noir gal, Jennifer, described the structure of the Sommaro as having only a "hint of tannin on the finish." I think the wine is more tannic than that...though the '06 is significantly more tannic and acidic than the the rounder '07. Cindy thought the tannins "make a nice showing but don't overpower the palate."
The 2006 Mourvedre (Stairway) is showing very pretty integration of fruit and wood. The delineated fruit of youth (plum, strawberry) is now an amalgam of silky black fruit aromas and flavors. The punch of acid and tannin that made the wine a potentially long-term ager is still significantly present. This quality, I think, allows for some neat food pairing options.
As far as '07 and food go, Cindy recommends a pecan crusted Rack of Lamb and roasted Rosemary Red Potatoes (that does sound good); Jennifer's thoughts turned to cheese. The picture to the right shows some of the cheeses we tried with the wine (Lenora, Jasper Hill Winnemere, Grayson, and Tomme de Montagne from 9 o' clock to 6 o' clock). I think this wine would go with meaty fish, chicken with lentils, BBQ ribs, sausages, charcuterie, just about anything.
Let us know what you think of the Mourvedre when it comes out, or any of our other wines.