Mourvèdre Monday #9: Hewitson Old Garden 2005

For this week’s Mourvèdre Monday, we’re hopping in the wayback machine. I mean waaaaaaaaayback. I’m talking the oldest known Mourvèdre vines in the world. I’m so excited I just might wet myself.

Producer: Hewitson

Grapes: 100% Mourvèdre

Appellation: Barossa Valley, Australia

Vineyard: All the grapes for this wine come from the “Old Garden” planted in 1853. Eight. Teen. Fifty. Three. They were already calling this the “Old Garden” in the 18-freaking-80s when it was 30+ years old. The vines are dry-farmed, hand-pruned and hand-harvested bush vines.

Vintage: 2005

Winemaking: About 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Price: $29.40 at Spec’s in Austin

My tasting notes: There’s a slight orange-ness at the edge, like Spanish-style clay roof tiles. The nose is complex and layered: Plum, mixed berries, spice, Dr. Pepper, a bit of cream from the new oak. On the palate, there is rich red fruit (esp. cherry) that stays away from being too intense/extracted. There’s a wet-earth minerality to this that I like a lot, as well. It’s smooth textured with good acidity, but not as much backbone as I expected. Not an especially lengthy finish. After a couple of hours open it starts to lose it’s gravitas and begins to taste like a mediocre Lodi Zin or something.

Overall impression: I had really high expectations for this wine and it wasn’t quite what I expected. I imagined these ancient vines producing a robust, intense wine that would impress me with its strength. Instead, it seemed to me more like a interesting, dapper old man. Still, an enjoyable bottle that I’m glad I got to taste. I’ll be on the lookout for other vintages in the future to keep tabs on this unique wine. B

Free association:

More info:

Check out this short video from Hewitson on the Old Garden vineyard.

A collection of reviews on the Hewitson website.

Other reviews at The Wine FrontCellarTracker (avg: 89) and Cork’d.

5 comments to Mourvèdre Monday #9: Hewitson Old Garden 2005

  • Sorry it wasn’t what you expected. At least you got to taste wine from vines that are 130 years old. Not many can say that. Oh, and you didn’t wet yourself either.

    Josh

    You have 43 more to go, can’t wait until you stumble upon a gem!

  • Jim/VINEgeek

    Hey Josh – I hope I didn’t give the impression that I think this is not a good wine. Even though it didn’t match the profile that my imagination built up based on reading about the vineyard, I did enjoy it. It’s a solid B for me, which means I’d happily drink it again. (As you know, I rarely give A scores.) People would have to decide for themselves if it’s worth $30. For me it was worth it because of the historic vineyard, and I’ll definitely check out future vintages.

    Lots more Mourvèdre in the weeks ahead. Cheers.

  • Sounds worth the $30 to me. Seems like an interesting wine, and you are right about it being cool to have tasted the wine for the historic vineyard. It is interesting that it started losing its mojo so quickly.

  • Jim/VINEgeek

    Definitely worth it for me. Maybe “historic vines” could be a new labeling category. Old vines are 40-80 years old. Ancient vines are 80-120 or so. Historic vines were planted when Abe Lincoln was still walking the earth!

  • “Historic vines”, I like it. It’s insane to think about all the changes that the world has gone through since those vines were originally planted. It’s an entirely different world now. :)

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