2015 I. Brand & Family, Mourvedre Old Vine “Enz Vineyard” Lime Kiln Valley, San Benito County.
Ian Brand has made a gorgeous old world style wine from the little known Lime Kiln Valley from old vine Mourvedre that rivals many a Bandol, while Brand may not be a household name yet, he is one of Monterey’s most talented winemakers, crafting his Le P’Tit Paysan and La Marea wines as well as his signature I. Brand & Family offerings. His Enz Vineyard Old Vine Mourvedre is deeply colored with a dark garnet/purple hue that starts with a bouquet of flowers, spice and earth with intriguing violets and bramble berry leading to a palate of rich fruit, leather, peppercorns, loam and seductive meatiness. Layers of dusty boysenberry, wild plum, tart currant and baked cherry flow seamlessly in a dense mouth feel that is held together with ripe tannins and the savory raciness making for a serious wine that reminds me somewhat of Bedrock’s Heritage or Bonny Doon’s mid nineties Old Telegram and a bit like a Cornas too, though with the old school charm of a classic Bandol without the stinky brett, this is impressive stuff that is what is now commonly called “The New California” it’s a wine that reflects the best of what it’s own terroir is as well as paying homage to it’s historical cousins of the old world in a balanced fashion. This rich and full bodied old vine Mourvedre, with lingering kirsch, chalky stones, sticky lavender, minty anise and shaved cinnamon stick, certainly delivers the goods, and made me look up where the hell Lime Kiln Valley was, a touch humbled, I discovered it was in the greater Cienega Valley and has been it’s own AVA since 1982 with the Enz Vineyard first being planted back in 1895! The I. Brand & Family Old Vine Mourvedre “Enz Vineyard” Lime Kiln Valley is from head trained vines that was planted in 1922 grown on limestone, dolomite and covered by sandy loam and gravel along with a micro climate that sees a good diurnal temperature change allowing for very intense and focused fruit with color, flavor and complexity along with a nice lift of natural acidity, this means Brand can use partial whole cluster that adds loads of distinction and edginess, without question this is one of coolest and best finds of the year from the Central Coast! A recent stop at Brand’s tasting room in Carmel Valley Village proved a great experience and one of exciting new discoveries, in particular this Mourvedre that should enjoy a long life, as well as a Chinon like Cabernet Franc, a lovely fruit driven Grenache under his La Marea label and the brisk and energy filled Le P’Tit Paysan “Pierre’s Pirouette” Dry Rose of Mourvedre, Grenache & Cinsault that is a must have pink!
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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