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2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado

The potential for great wine growing in the Sierra Foothills is massive, particularly for Rhone varieties. In recent years, quality in the bottle has started delivering on that. Skinner Vineyards and Winery is one of the leaders in that respect.

Winemaker Chris Pittenger has consulted with them since their beginning in 2007 and been full-time on-site since 2010. Pittenger’s experience includes stints at Aussie Rhone-specialist Torbreck, Napa old-vine house Robert Biale and four years at Marcassin with Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. He’s well-equipped to take advantage of Skinner’s prototypical El Dorado vineyards.

The Stoney Creek Vineyard sits at 2,700 feet in the Fair Play AVA. Vine roots dive deeply into the well-drained, sandy soil of decomposed granite. Sun is plentiful throughout the growing season but that high-altitude keeps temperatures moderate with cool breezes coming up from the delta and cold air dropping from the soaring mountains at night.

The White Oak Vineyard, located near the site of the original Skinner Winery founded in 1861, is less extreme but no less representative of the foothills. Still lofty at 1,400 feet, it also benefits from all-day sun, moderated warmth and cold night air. The soils are a little more fertile, stone-studded alluvium of red volcanic, eroded granite, etc. But it’s shallow earth on a bed of nearly solid granite which means good drainage because the water runs downhill like rain falling on a sloping driveway.

These conditions are ideal for Rhone reds, like the Mourvedre, that need plenty of phenolic ripeness to be palatable but lose complexity and charm at high alcohol levels. Skinner’s got the right grapes in the right sites and combines that with careful viticulture and talented winemaking. The results are excellent and, because the region is still under-the-radar, even limited-release wines can be had at reasonable prices.

The 2010 Skinner Estate Mourvedre is dark, savory deliciousness in the glass. Complex and intense on the nose, aromas of black pepper, sweet smoke, game, white pepper, grilled cherry and brown spice are easy to discern. The palate is dry and nearly full-bodied. Tannic structure is moderate and fine-grained, easily matched by juiciness. Flavor intensity is high as well: grilled plum and dark berries, sprinkled with dark spice. Good length. This wine is sold out at the winery, but there are a handful of bottles here and perhaps elsewhere at retail. Best now through 2018. Highly Recommended

12Mourvedre2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: now through 2018
Release Date: Spring, 2013

Closure: Cork
Production: 73 cases
Retail Price: $25.00 and up

Winemaker: Chris Pittenger
Blend: 83% Mourvedre, 17% Syrah

Origin: two Skinner Estate Vineyards (Stoney Creek & White Oak), El Dorado
Aging: 11 months in French oak barriques and hogsheads, 33% new
Alcohol: 14.9%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: Not required

Temperature: 60º - 64º F

Food Pairing: Grilled lamb chops or braised lamb shank

Interpreting my wine ratings

 

Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2014 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard

News that majority interest in Qupé has been sold sent me to my cellar for a bottle of their wine to enjoy with dinner. First to hand was this 2010 Qupé Mourvedre which I purchased at their tasting room this time last year. The wine also promised to be a good choice for our dinner of braised pork and ratatouille.

Upon first opening, the 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young expresses aromas of tangy spice and berries with white pepper. With time and greater temperature, black cherry emerges and so, eventually, does garrigue. Sips reveal medium+ body and flavors of black cherry, five spice and leather. The moderate tannins of fine-powder are congenial, providing just the right amount structure. Even further air and warming add to both the body and length, making the wine quite enjoyable with or without food. The 2010 Qupé is a very good Central Coast Mourvedre, spice-driven yet well-fruited. Consider decanting it briefly. Drink now through 2016. Recommended+.

2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard Santa Ynez
2010-Qupe-Mourvedre
Rating: Recommended+

Drink: now through 2016
Closure: Cork
Retail Price: ~$25, sold out at the winery

Winemaker: Bob Lindquist
Origin: Ibarra-Young Vineyard, Santa Ynez
Alcohol: 13.5%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: optional

Temperature: 58º - 62º F

Food Pairings: braised pork shoulder, seared duck breast


Interpreting my wine ratings

 

Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook 

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Quivira Mourvedre Wine Creek Ranch Dry Creek Valley

Mourvedre is a very late ripening variety. In Dry Creek Valley, with its sun, warmth and relatively dry Autumns, the grapes can ripen fully in most years. It’s Mourvedre wines shows better balance between savory and sweet than is found in wines from many of its French growing regions. The 2009 Quivira Mourvedre is a fine example.

This wine is dark ruby in color and opens with aromas of leather, black pepper, savory spices, black cherry and black berry. The palate follows suit but emphasizes the dark fruit and non-pepper spice. With a little time breathing in the glass, and perhaps rising a degree or two in temperature, the leather and black pepper dissipate almost completely. Chocolate emerges in their place. The tannins also evolve. Out of the bottle they are very fine but grainy. Later, or with a bite of meat, they are pleasantly powdery and add depth to the wine’s body. The 2009 Quivira Mourvedre is a very good, modern Mourvedre focused on spice and fruit with hints of the grape’s wild background which make it interesting but don’t compromise approachability. Decanting is not required. Drink now through 2015. Try it with smoked duck breast. Highly Recommended.

2009 Quivira Mourvedre Wine Creek Ranch Dry Creek Valley
Screen_Shot_2012-04-09_at_12.33.03_PMRating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2015

Release Date: October, 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 294 cases
Retail Price: $32.00

Winemaker: Hugh Chappelle
Blend: 88% Mourvedre, 12% Grenache
Origin: Dry Creek Valley
Fermentation: 100% destemmed (but not crushed), native yeast, small open-top fermenters
Aging: 18 months in French oak puncheons (500 liter) and foudres (600 gallon)

Alcohol: 14.3%

The wine above was received from the winery for review.

You may also enjoy this article:
I Want Mour(vedre)

If you like Rhone wines, don’t miss the upcoming Hospice du Rhone on April 27 & 28. For a taste of HdR, take a look at these articles too:
Looking Forward to Hospice du Rhone 2012
10 Big Wine Events to Look Forward to in Early 2012

Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day One
Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day Two

 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.