Wednesday, July 3, 2013

california, north and south, 2011

Piedi grandi 2011
martian parallax 2011

piedi grandi i did not find completely successful, but maybe hank and the sierra foothills are learning what a nebbiolo/mourvedre/syrah blend should be. the first day, it was hot as hell and with not much else going on. purple in the glass with brick edges. on the second day, it had calmed down and opened up into some peppery dark fruit, blackcurrant leaf, and some aggressive tannins, but it was still essential to drink it chilled. on day three, it had the fresh elderflower and scrubby aromas of northern california on a hot day and an enticing sweetness that was enjoyable at something more closely approaching cellar temperature. i don't know if i would call this a conventionally complex and complicated wine, but it is a thought-provoking one that recalls the sense memory of a brief time in the mountains of northern california. if i had more bottles and if they were under cork, i would lay some down for research purposes.

the martian ranch parallax, which is all mourvedre from santa barbara county, has the same blackcurrant leaf aroma. most distinctive was the sensation of the wine in the mouth: a creamy, almost starchy quality that i've never encountered before. the fruit was inkily intense but there wasn't much acid to balance it. after a day open, it developed flavours of alcohol-soaked cherries and blackberries. it was unpleasant enough that i left it to sit, undisturbed, for a few more days in the refrigerator, at which point it had gotten over the booziness and was subdued wood and vanilla, delicate cherry, cream, and a little of the tephra ashiness that marks nerello mascalese from etna.

is mourvedre the unheralded terroir grape of the cooler and less fashionable regions of northern california? i would certainly leap at the chance for another stab at la clarine's 2011 cedarville mourvedre. california is 1.44 times the size of italy.

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