2018 Mourvedre 'Evangelho Vineyard'
"My shipment with 2017 Bandol from Domaine Tempier just arrived, and since it was a small crop year, my allocation was trimmed back 50%. I’ll learn to live with that shortfall, as the 2017 vintage at Tempier was a great one, and wine buffs all over the world are beginning to talk about it, using words like ‘legendary’ and ‘fabled’. The vintage was dedicated to Lulu Peyraud, the 101 year-old matriarch of Domaine Tempier, who has devoted her life to making this property one of the great fine-wine producers of modern-day France. We expect to savor every bottle of our 2017 Bandol ‘Pour Lulu’, and enjoy the magnificent splendor of the Mourvèdre grape as it has developed in its homeland of Provence.
I’m comfortable with my reduced allocation for another reason though – our Neyers 2018 Mourvèdre ‘Evangelho Vineyard’ is the most successful version of this wine we’ve produced, and we bottled 164 cases -- our largest crop ever -- up from the previous high of 145 cases.
Visitors regularly ask me what my favorite wine is, but I’m reluctant to answer that question as it changes a lot – like my favorite of our children, for example. Still, when I look at the empty bottles in my recycle bin at the end of the week, Mourvèdre frequently seems to win. The flavor is bright and fresh, like a beautiful mid-spring day. The wine is soft and approachable early on, yet I’ve drunk bottles that were 30 years old and still showed stirrings of youth. The flavors are complex but seem to vary as much as the weather, and always at the heart of the wine is that combination of exotic ripe fruit with subtle nuances that entertain like a sophisticated magic act.
We don’t make Bandol here in California, and we don’t even suggest that our version of wine from this mysterious grape is French. To the contrary, it’s the essence of California. Drawing examples from one wine to describe another is commonplace though, and sometimes necessary. The Mourvèdre we make at Neyers is a fascinating wine with an aroma of peach and cherry, and the flavors are set off by the immediate softness that highlight the mineral elements. Most importantly, Winemaker Tadeo Borchardt has captured the nuance of the grape, the multi-faceted aspect that makes a second swallow irresistible after the first. The flavors combine powerful fruit with earthy undertones that add to the complexity. The attractive finish includes a wild flavor that my friend Daniel Ravier calls ‘gamey’.
It’s best if drunk with a slight chill." - Bruce Neyers