Drink This! Mourvèdre from Kestrel Vintners

Over Labor Day weekend, hubby and I met my dad and his long time lady friend in Eastern Washington for a wine tasting tour. The “tour” only ended up consisting of 2 wineries—Blackwood Canyon (in Benton City) and Kestrel (in Prosser)–but we spent 3-4 hours at each place. A very interesting 3-4 hours, I might add, where we tasted more wine than we knew we could handle. The Eastern Washington experience is far different from what I’ve found in Sonoma, the Willamette Valley, and, um Santa Fe. (As for the latter, well, there are better wine growing regions. Much better. Sorry Santa Fe.) I’m sure other wineries in the country (and abroad) are as lively, personal, and eccentric as those we visited, but I must say, it would be hard to top our experience at either place! Talk about a trip!! (I’m hoping the resident Wine Guru, aka Dad, aka Dan) will talk about Blackwood Canyon in a later post, as it was his mighty fine selection. In case you must know more right now, however, just Google Blackwood Canyon, and you’ll get an “earful.”)

At Kestrel, our tour guide, Ken, walked us through the bottling area where we had a glass of their red blend “Lady in Red” before we hit the barrel storage room to try some samples. We tasted the ‘07 soon-to-be-bottled Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon (really looking forward to this release!), Co-Ferment Syrah, Mourvèdre, and a Cabernet Sauvignon that’s tentatively labeled “2 Ton.” (Talk about YUM!!) After the barrel samples, we headed back to a private room to snack on cheese (brie, domestic bleu, aged cheddar and herbs, and gouda) salami, crackers, and focaccia, and more wine. We tasted the current releases of all of the above, plus their Old Vine Merlot, which I’ve always loved.

But I’m here to talk about the Mourvèdre, however, so let’s do that, shall we? (By the way, Mourvèdre is pronounced Moo-Ved.) Kestrel’s Mourvèdre consists of 75% Mourvèdre, 19% Syrah, 5% Grenache, and 1% Viognier. It’s in the Winemaker’s Select Series, which allows the winemaker to express his (or her, but in Kestrel’s case it’s a he) creativity. Kestrel’s winemaker prefers to co-ferment his wines instead of blending them, and the Mourvèdre is no exception.

The currently available Mourvèdre is from 2006, and right out of the bottle it’s—as Ken put it—”tight as a tick.” While at Kestrel, we ran the Mourvèdre through a Vinturi, a sleek and compact wine aerator, and it opened right up. (Forgive me if I’m not using proper wine terminology! Maybe I should say it blossomed??) I’ve never had a Mourvèdre before, but the flavors I picked out were currant, cherry, raspberry, floral, and something earthy. But what exactly? I’m still searching out that particular aspect. (Luckily we have another bottle!) The Mourvèdre flyer lists red currant, rose-petals, cherry, dried herbs, tea and spice. I’m not sure I discerned any tea, and I can’t think of which herb might give it that mysterious flavor I’m picking up, but on my next tasting, I’ll think about them. What’s particularly interesting about this wine is the floral undertone the addition of Viognier (a white grape pronounced Vin-Yay) gives it. It’s a fun, elegant, and somewhat unpredictable (meaning I didn’t expect to taste what I did) wine to drink, and I would expect it to get better in the next year or two.

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