2014 Mourvèdre, Contra Costa County
Beautifully complex, this wine offers nuanced aromas of ripe dark berries as well as herbal notes of juniper and sage. An infusion of leather and smoked ham leap out of the glass.
Rounded flavors of black cherry and subtle blackberry unfold along the palate with hints of smoky mocha and savory herbs. This combination of warmth and spice creates a balanced finish filled with brightness and minerality.
- Hand harvested September 2, 2014 in the morning cool
- Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels (30% new)
George Troquato, Winemaker
Alejandro Aldama, Cellar Master
Each interplanted variety is hand harvested separately with the grower standing watch and calling out the varietal name of each vine as our crew passes over the rows. This one-of-a-kind planting yields small crops that have a rare degree of color and depth of flavor for Mourvèdre.
Eastern Contra Costa County has been a reputable wine region since the late 1800s. Cool afternoon breezes blowing through the San Joaquin and Sacramento River delta temper the warm daytime temperatures during the growing season. Soils consist of sandy loams that offer near-perfect drainage. Some blocks of wizened old-vine Zinfandel are over 100 years old, but many vineyards have been gradually replanted with Rhone varieties.
Sandy Lane Vineyard overlooks the delta near the town of Oakley and less than 20 miles from downtown Concord. Called “the oldest inter-planted vineyard in California,” it was inter-planted with Mourvèdre (aka Mataró), Zinfandel and Carignan in the early part of 20th century on St George rootstock. These ancient head-trained, spur-pruned vines benefit from the cooling effects of the water, and are dry farmed in soils that are as sandy as Waikiki Beach.
In early 2014, most California winemakers fretted over the possibility of a third consecutive drought year, but ultimately celebrated an outstanding vintage. January brought dry, seasonable temperatures and February saw one storm but the relief was short-lived. Budbreak in March was up to three weeks early while a cool April throttled growth. Bloom in May and berry set in June were favorable as conditions remained warm, clear, and accelerated. Veraison, the onset of ripening, occurred in mid-July; early August was quite warm, but a return to cooler temperatures slowed development and allowed the formation of deep colors and flavors. The early harvest had average-sized yields, but the consistent weather produced stellar wines despite the drought.