STEP OUT OF YOUR comfort zone for a top California producer’s fruity dry red with a fascinating backstory. Mourvèdre, known as Monastrell in its native Spain, is also at home in the sunny Bandol region of France’s Mediterranean and in the Southern Rhone. But it also takes quite well to the warm climate in Cali’s Paso Robles at Tablas Creek Vineyard. One of the founding owners of Tablas Creek, France’s Chateau de Beaucastel, uses Mourvèdre as a primary grape in their Rhone blends. At Tablas Creek, it is used in the Esprit de Tablas blend but also made as a single varietal. I hope, if this wine pops up in your market, you will give it a try. It’s handcrafted. It’s grown at the winery’s 120-acre certified organic vineyard and fermented by native yeasts on the skins in large neutral wooden casks and then aged a year in them. The blockbuster 2013 vintage produced the tenth single-varietal bottling of Mourvèdre for Tablas Creek.
Tablas Creek Vineyard is owned by importer Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands, and the Perrin family, which owns the prized French winery Château de Beaucastel. They established Tablas Creek Winery in 1989 in Paso Robles, an area much like the Southern Rhone with a Mediterranean-type climate — where even the shallow limestone soils are reminiscent of the rocky Rhone.
Tablas Creek Mourvèdre Paso Robles 2013, $40: This gorgeous, inky-colored dry red starts with aromas of rose petal, dark berries, dark chocolate and sweet brown baking spices, followed by yummy flavors braced with smooth round tannins and sturdy acidity. It’s tangy and balanced with notes of plum, dark berries, cocoa, leather and spice. It’s all about fruit from beginning to end.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@Hotmail.com.