Thursday, April 29, 2010

Announcing WBW #69: "Animal Cruelty"

The 69th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday is not puppy friendly. We will be drinking wines made with the "dog-strangler" grape.

You might better know this grape as Mourvedre, Monastrell or Mataro. In southern France, this grape is sometimes known as Estrangle-Chien (which translates as “dog strangler”), because of its big tannins. It also has about thirty other different names by which it is sometimes known.

It appears that this grape originated in Spain, and derived its name from the town of Murviedro, located near Valencia. The name Mataro also derives from a Spanish town, of the same name, located near Barcelona. In the late Middles Ages, the grape was transported to the Provence region of France. In the 1800s, the grape spread to Australia and the United States, and you will also find small plantings in other countries too.

I really enjoy Monastrell, from Spanish wines of the Jumilla region to French ones of the Bandol region. You'll also find some good Mourvedre wines from California, including the Paso Robles area. It can be a big wine, with strong tannins, but interesting fruit flavors as well as some earthiness. With the warm weather coming, it can be a nice wine for the pairing with BBQ or grilled foods. You can find $10 value wines or high-end (and pricier) selections. Though often used as a blending grape, it seems to be taking the forefront more and more so now is the time to explore this grape where it takes a predominant role.

For WBW#68, all you have to do is to drink a wine that contains 50% or more Mourvedre, whether a Red, Rosé or Dessert wine. There are also a couple ways to earn bonus points. First, compare Mourvedre wines from two different countries, like Spain vs France, or California vs Australia. Second, for even more bonus points, taste a Red, Rosé and Dessert Wine (with the most points if they all come from the same country).

A few of my favorite Monastrell-based wines include: El Nido Clio (Spain), Yellow+Blue Rosé (Spain), Twisted Oak River of Skulls (California), and Domaine Tempier (Red & Rose-France).

You have until Wednesday, May 19, 2010 to post your review. Please email me a link to your post at ubarluther@aol.com. If you don’t have your own blog, put up your review as a comment on this blog.

But please don't really strangle any dogs!

8 comments:

Virginia Rockhill said...

Thanks for the post. Stumbled on your blog this AM. Since we moved from RI to northern NH we aren't up on Boston stuff anymore so your blog can bring me up to date!

Joel W said...

Love the Mourvedre theme, Richard. I'll bust out some Bandol for sure.

Anonymous said...

My dog Garnacha Blanca (call her Nacha) loves the River of Skulls! I've never seen her choke on it, maybe it has something to do with it being made from a Monastrell clone and not a Mourvedre....;) Great WBW idea!

el jefe said...

That last comment was me. Weird that it posted me anonymous!

artpredator said...

Yummy--love this varietal! I've got a bottle of River around but will keep my eyes peeled for something else...

CD said...

El Nido Clio a great choice indeed. Castano Solanera and Vinos Sin Ley M5 also do not disappoint. Perhaps the one which consistently blows my socks off, especially in light of its price, is Olivares Altos de la Hoya. Loads of black fruit, smoke and mineral. No-brainer every day wine at under $10.

Jim wilkerson/VINEgeek said...

My WBW #69 post can be found here: http://www.vinegeek.com/2010/05/mourvedre-monday-15-for-wbw-69-anglim/

Thanks for a great topic!

Michael Gorton, Jr. said...

Here you are Richard...Thanks!

http://undertakingwine.com/2010/05/19/wine-blogging-wednesday-69-animal-cruelty-the-monastrell-grape/