2014 El Dorado Estate Grown Mourvedre Winemaker Chris Pittenger is making a powerful case that mourvedre is destined to produce some of California’s greatest red wines. This comes from a small hillside planting at the Skinner family’s estate near Fair Play, where the soil is based on sandy, crumbly decomposed granite. It’s a warm site, but mourvedre needs plenty of heat to ripen, and the 2014 is just lovely: fragrant with violet scents yet really substantial, with a hearty, buoyant black-plum flavor and incredible structure. At its core, the wine is firm and cool, and the tannins seem to have absorbed the dry-pine-needle scent of the Foothills, bringing length, dimension and a sense of granitic stature to the irresistible, perfectly ripe fruit. This is a limited-production wine that may be hard to find, but Skinner's 2015 El Dorado Mourvedre ($30) comes pretty close, at 95 points —Luke Sykora
This wine was featured in our September 2017 monthly newsletter.
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