2018 Dirty & Rowdy, Mourvèdre, Enz Vineyard, Lime Kiln Valley AVA, San Benito County.
The seductively dark and sultry Enz Vineyard Old Vine Mourvèdre is really coming to life right now with an exciting mix of deep fruit, texture and a stemmy savory rush of meaty and earthy elements, all perfectly capturing the essence of the grape, most famously found solo in the powerful Bandol wines in France’s Provence region and this unique California terroir in the wilds of San Benito County. In recent years you’ve seen some great wines from this vineyard, especially Ian Brand’s Mourvèdre and this Dirty & Rowdy bottling which is particularly thrilling in this near perfect vintage on the Central Coast, it is located in the Lime Kiln Valley AVA not far from the Cienega Valley at about 1,200 feet above sea level and set on combination of limestone and granite soils with a smattering of sandy and rock. This purple/garnet wine opens up with a concentration of black and red fruits, some raw tannins, wild herbs and gamey notes and with a few swirls you find some sweet florals, a touch of chalky stones, a sanguine quality and tapenade with layers of boysenberry, plum, dried cherries and wisps of sage, blood orange licorice, bacon and cedar. This wine retains the freshness of year’s long cooler growing season, but still pleases with ripe character and impresses for its dense mouth feel, though without question this wine benefits from food to smooth out its rustic grip, best to serve with some serious proteins.

The single varietal (100% Mourvèdre) Enz Vineyard, about a hundred years old now, which is farmed with sustainable and organic methods was fermented in an old school and natural manner with 100% whole cluster and all indigenous yeasts without any manipulation, all to allow the year and vineyard to shine through in an authentic and openly transparent way. There’s no new oak used in the Enz Mourvedre either, just well used neutral French oak barrels and no fining or filtration is done, plus almost zero sulfur is added in the winemaking process. While there is no polish here, this is a stunning effort for those that love Mourvèdre in its most naked form, it reminds me of some of my favorite Bandol wines, especially the classic meaty examples by Château de Pibarnon. The whole bunches add a degree of feral funk, in a good way and give this wine an added dimension on the full bodied palate and should continue to evolve in the coming years as well as the core of fruit, this Dirty & Rowdy Enz Mourvèdre has loads of personality and potential. As to pairings, there’s lots to enjoy this stuff with, I would suggest a more robust cuisine like lamb, grilled steak and or hard sheep’s cheeses. That said I had it with a spicy pasta and while not an exceptional pairing for this Mourvèdre, it went remarkably well and handled it with surprising grace. Dirty & Rowdy, a Mourvèdre minded winery, also has a very cool collection of other wines from a set of “orange” style skin contact whites and Rhone red blends that are well worth searching out, plus I absolutely love their Mendocino Barbera, it is an awesome California version of this Piedmonte grape. This no pretense winery is a label to follow, I highly recommend getting on their mailing list, these wines have a fanatical following and sell out quickly.
($47 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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