An alluring nose of raspberry, chocolate covered cherries, and fresh herbs beckons the senses. On the palate, this wine displays lovely notes of raspberry, red fruits, leather and eucalyptus. The soft mouthfeel finishes with a kiss of vanilla and supple, lingering tannins.
The precise origins of mourvèdre are not definitive, but the grape is famous for being one of the 13 official varieties (18 including white and pink versions) around the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône region of France. The thick-skinned berry is also bottled as a varietal wine, and as expected, the California manifestation has riper fruit qualities, more body and softer textures.
The heart of the Paso Robles AVA lies 25 miles inland from the coast with mild conditions in winter, spring and fall. Summers are mostly hot and dry, but a break in the coastal range allows a marine layer to move inland in the late afternoon, lowering temperatures and providing the cool evenings and nights that promote well-balanced grape acidity.
Clautiere Vineyard is situated at 800 feet of elevation on Paso Robles’ Eastern plateau where the sandy-loam soils and warm dry climate are conducive to late ripening varieties like mourvèdre. T he challenging growing conditions enable vines to channel their energy into the development of small berries that produce aromatic wines with intense flavors, silky textures and rounded tannins.
The 08 growing season started with heavy rain in January and February. Skies cleared in March, opening the door for considerable morning frost. The freeze didn’t cause visual damage, but it disrupted the growth cycle by delaying budbreak, bloom and berry set. May and June brought hot, dry gusts that triggered some 1,400 wild fires throughout California. The wind, in conjunction with variable temperatures during bloom, reduced fruit set by creating small clusters with many shot berries while the smoke obscured sunlight and slowed grape development. Heat spikes in July and August countered those processes and helped vines recover maturation. Harvest was delayed 7–10 days due to the erratic weather and haze, but the high skin-to-juice ratios of the small crop intensified wine flavors.