Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Who You Callin' Fat?

Some grapes really are fat.

They can’t help it; it’s hereditary.

When it comes to describing wine, you can’t mince words. Some grapes are plump and round; others are lean and angular.

Merlot is fat; temperanillo is lean. Malbec is fat; grenache is lean. As with any rule, there are exceptions. Winemaking techniques can lend some curves to a skinny grape or can whip a fat one in to shape.

Mourvèdre is a big, fat grape.

I was reminded of this when I opened a bottle of Salvador Poveda Monastrell Toscar Alicante 2005 the other night. This is a serious bottling of monastrell (mourvèdre). Aromas of smoked meat, earth and plum billowed out of my glass. In the glass, the color is inky-purple. A sip reveals layers of plum, blueberry, baking spices and bacon held together by firm tannins.

And that was just the first night. When we returned to this the next night, some of the smoky, earthy notes had blown off, leaving gobs and gobs of rich, unctuous black fruit framed by those nice baking spices. Decanting is definitely a good idea for this wine, as well as a rich, hearty meal to accompany it.

This is yet another from my eclectic case. The label notes really caught my eye on this wine. I truly appreciate being given some basics about what’s in the bottle on wine labels. In this case, I learned this wine is produced from dry farmed vines in stony soil, and that it’s bottled unfined and unfiltered. Sold.

Mourvèdre by itself (it is more commonly used as a blending grape) is certainly not for everyone, but if you want to see this grape displayed in all of its big, fat, naked glory. This is a good place to start.


el jefe said...

Glad you were able to find one, they can be few and far between - but even blended the variety stands out. We make a blend with about 50% Mourvedre every year and you can tell.

You could say Mourvedre is the new Petite Sirah. Or maybe it's better not to...

John said...

Hopefully, Moo-ved is a little too funky for the masses, but I'm happy to see so much good juice coming out of Spain. Bodegas Castano makes another great 100% mourvedre called "Hecula" from the Yecla D.O.