When comparing California wine styles to those of other regions around the world, one theme that emerges is the riper style and generally higher alcohol content of California wines versus Old World wines. The French in particular are accustomed to a climate where chaptalization (adding sugar to unfermented grape must to increase the alcohol content after fermentation) is required in most vintages, while California sunshine nearly always assures fully ripe (some would say overripe) fruit. As it turns out, our 2011 paralleled the 2010 vintage where we saw the coolest daily temperatures in a decade on all our Paso Robles vineyards. We achieved ripe flavors at lower Brix levels than we’ve seen in the past with restrained alcohol levels, reminiscent of the Old World. This 2011 Mourvèdre is a distinct shift in style from previous vintages, exhibiting delicate camphor, anise and lilac attributes.
Fruit for our 2011 J. Lohr Gesture Mourvèdre was grown at VZZ vineyard, located in the Willow Creek district in the western part of the Paso Robles AVA. These decade-old vines are planted on a steep, southwest-facing lime-shale hillside. The 23% slope in this block makes simply walking this vineyard very difficult. Our farming plan brings the crop to one cluster per shoot for this large-clustered variety, and in order to intensify flavor and color it requires trimming off the wings and the lower third of the clusters shortly after set. We hand-harvested into half-ton bins on October 29th. The fruit signature of the blend was lifted and the finish lengthened by blending in Grenache from the same vineyard.
|Appellation:||Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA|
|Composition:||95% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah|
|Harvest Dates:||October 9th, 2011|
|Harvest Process:||Hand-harvested, destemmed, then berry sorted to remove overripe and underripe berries|
|Harvest Chemistries:||25° Brix, total acidity 0.64 g/100ml, pH 3.51|
|Yeast: Maurivin Distinction|
|Fermentation: Fermented in open-top fermenters with light punchdowns|
|Temperature: Two-day cold soak followed by a hot 92°F fermentation temperature|
|Maceration: 10 days on skins, pressed nearly dry|
|Malolactic: 100% malolactic, Viniflora Oenos|
|Maturation: 16 months in puncheon on primary lees|
|Barrel Type: 500 liter Demptos and Francois Frères French oak puncheons, 70% new|
|Bottle Aging: Released 4 months after bottling|
|Total Acidity: 0.62 g/100ml|
|Alcohol: 14.08% by volume|
|Res. Sugar: 0.07 g/100ml|
|Cellaring: Delicious now, but will age gracefully for 8 to 10 years|
|Cases Produced: 330|
“Mourvèdre is also known as Mataró or Monastrell, among dozens of other synonyms, and is believed to be native to Spain. The 2011 J. Lohr Gesture Mourvèdre is medium-dark with a violet hue. Savory aromas of lilac, anise and beeswax open up to black plum. The round talcy texture on the palate remains crisp with a touch of acidity followed by cardamom spice on the finish.”
-Steve Peck, Red Winemaker
This wine is excellent with many of the specialties of southwestern France and Catalonia, such as pork roast or pan-seared foie gras. Try with prosciutto tapas, dried almonds, fresh fig and brie cheese.