The South of France has some of the more appealing weather this time of year. That is reflected in the number of races happening in the Provence region in February. In the past few weeks the Tour de Mediterranean and Tour la Provence both took place.
For the most part these races are an opportunity for the seasoned pros to stretch their legs and test their fitness. The neo-pros seize these early season races as their chance to prove they are worthy of bigger contracts and possible team captain opportunities in the future.
The veterans ruled the day at both races with Thomas Voeckler taking the overall at the Tour la Provence, while Andriy Grivko claiming victory at the Mediterranean.
This week's challenge pits a Washington Mourvedre against Bandol.
2010 McCrea Cellars Mourvedre v. 2012 Domaine Sorin Mourvedre
Tale of the Tape
A blend of Mourvedre and Syrah with the bulk of the grapes typically coming from the Ciel du Cheval vineyard on Red Mountain. The percent of Mourvedre ranges from 78 to 90 percent depending on the vintage.
Purchased at Esquin for $32.99
2012 Domaine Sorin Mourvedre
85% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 5 % Carignan
All estate grown grapes
Aged in Oak Barrels for 16 months.
Purchased at Esquin for $24.99
Round 1. First opening
The McCrea Cellars Mourvedre comes storming into the ring with a nose that is dark and wicked showing dusty dark fruit, cracked leather and herbal menthol spices. The palate follows up with dried spices, tart red fruit and spicy cracked pepper floating on the finish with some zingy acidity.
The French challenger from Domaine Sorin is attempting to mirror McCrea with a nose that features funky dark fruit, forest floor, dried oats and a light floral perfume. The palate is equally dark with notes of dark fruit, spicy tobacco leaf and dried herbs with touch of acid and loads of dry tannin on the finish.
Both Luchadors landed some serious blows in the first round with neither combatant gaining a significant advantage. The scores were nearly equal with a slight edge going to McCrea Cellars.
Round 2. One hour later
McCrea is continuing to take the fight straight at the Bandol Bandit with a smooth and bold attacking strategy that features a nose of caramel, dark fruit and light herbal notes. The palate is showing dark fruit, vanilla barrel notes and cracked pepper on the finish along with some hints of cocoa powder.
Domaine Sorin is getting funky and fresh with a nose showing off funky dark fruit, light menthol and cocoa. The palate is dark and mysterious with black fruit and spicy tobacco leaf that carries over to the finish.
Another close round and it looks like the judges have awarded round 2 to the Bondol Bandit. That evens the score at 1 point each.
Round 3. One day later
This is it. The final round will determine the winner of this battle royale between Washington and Southern France's Bandol Bandit.
The McCrea Mourvedre drops in with a wicked elbow drop to the head of the Bandol Bandit and the French challenger is looking dazed.
Bandol is attempting to fight back with some sweet and spicy style. The nose is lively with dark cherry and herbal floral notes. The palate shows dark cherry and sweet herbal tobacco leaf followed by a dry tart finish backed up with a strong tannin fueled backbone.
McCrea cellars takes round three, summoning some serious stamina that provided the foundation for a smooth and powerful attack.
Wrap up and overall observations
The McCrea Mourvedre is an excellent example of how Rhone and Southern France grapes can thrive in Washington. The 2010 vintage was a cool one in Washington and this Mourvedre from McCrea cellars is proving that Washington can produce stellar wine in all conditions.
The Domaine Sorin was an interesting wine from the Bandol region. I was surprised to see a blend since I was anticipating a 100% Mourvedre from this region of France. The wine did not disappoint, showing plenty of character - including the spicy tobacco leaf flavors I have come to associate with the Southern Rhone.
Both of these wines were tasting great and I would recommend them both.