Derby Wine Estates | Mourvèdre | Paso Robles | California | 2011 | $34 | 91 Points“Highly Recommended”

We introduced you to Derby Wine Estates this past July, with a review of their outstanding “Fifteen 10” red and white Rhone blends (93 points each) and “Implico” Bordeaux blend (91 points). (Revisit our feature review at this link: Derby.) In that first round of tasting Derby wines we found them to be “deeply expressive, finely textured, and of exceptional quality at their price points.” We have just tasted Derby’s 2011 Mourvèdre (100%) and concluded it is worthy of the same praise and remarkably good for the vintage. It is a very fine rendering of Mourvèdre — a Rhone variety often utilized as a blending grape — as a single varietal wine.

Sourced from Derby’s namesake vineyard in the Templeton Gap (where Rhone varieties flourish), this is a savory and soulful red, with suggestions of dried dark fruit, orange peel, and toast on the nose; and on the palate, notions of black cherry, dried herbs, and tapenade — all accented with hints of bourbon barrel and bitters that unfold over a mouthwatering finish. The wine is dry, full-bodied, and meaty on the palate, with chewy tannins, crisp acidity, and spicy oak. It aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, 69% new and 31% neutral. Somehow the wine’s aromatics and flavors remind us of a Manhattan cocktail, and it is, indeed, thoroughly enjoyable on its own as an apéritif. It will also complement the hearty flavors of fall and winter, such as roasted meats and vegetables, meaty stews, stuffed bell peppers, and just about anything with bacon.

15% ABV | Unfined, Unfiltered | 159 Cases produced

Availability: Derby wines are produced in small lots and retail distribution is limited. They may, however, be purchased at the winery or ordered for direct shipping, depending on the rules of your given state. For more information, visit Derby Wine Estates in person at 525 Riverside Ave. in Paso Robles, California, 93446; ring them at 805-238-6300; or visit them virtually at

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