Mourvèdre Monday #12: Trio Vintners 2006 Yakima Valley

Trio Vintners, a collaboration between winemakers Tim Boushey, Denise Slattery and Steve Michener, is one of the “incubator wineries” set up at the Walla Walla Regional Airport. They are a small lot producer and one look at their lineup lets you know they’re doing some interesting things: Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Syrah, Carménère and this Mourvèdre. Nary a Cab or Merlot in sight.

Producer: Trio Vintners

Grapes: 96% Mourvèdre, 4% Syrah according to the label. But on the info sheet they sent along with the bottle, there was this story…

Another thing that attracted us to this vineyard was that, as we walked through the vines, we noticed that every so often there was a vine with white wine grapes on it. Grower Art den Hoed told us he was surprised to learn that he ad been sold about 1% Gewürztraminer plants when he bought the Mourvèdre! He offered to pick around them at harvest but we insisted on preserving this accidental ‘field blend’ as part of the wine. So even though we don’t say it on the label, they’re in there, adding a flavor component that is unique.

I love them for that.

Appellation: Yakima Valley (AVA, Washington)

Vineyards: The Mourvèdre (and Gewurztraminer) came from the den Hoed Vineyard at 1300 feet above Yakima Valley. The Syrah came from the Rizutti Vineyard, which is in the Walla Walla Valley AVA.

Vintage: 2006

Winemaking: As they put it, they “aged the hell out of this wine.” 20 month in oak, a mix of new Hungarian, 2nd & 3rd year American and neutral French barrels.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Price: $26 from the winery

My tasting notes: A very pretty nose. Soft berry fruit lifted by sweet spice/tobacco shop aromas and some floral accents (from the Gewürztraminer, perhaps?). I pick up a little smoke as well. I kept sniffing this one for a good 5 minutes before I took the first sip. On the palate, it pops with high-toned mixed berry fruit with a savory, peppery edge that I really like. An undercurrent of wet-rock minerality peeks through every now and then. The oak makes it’s presence known as well. Finishes long, but the alcohol shows in a cool-mint kind of way.

Overall assessment: The nose is seductive and the wine delivers a lot of what I enjoy in Mourvèdre: the savory, earthy accents to the Zin-like berry fruit. I really enjoyed this, my first Washington Mourvèdre. B

Free association: They had me at Gewürz…

More info:

This bottle was a press sample provided by the winery.

Only 153 cases produced.

Thea over at Luscious Lushes reviewed this wine and liked it, too. Josh at DrinkNectar reviewed Trio’s 2007 Tempranillo and 2007 Carménère.

On the Mourvèdre front, Trio also uses the grape in a very interesting blend that they call Riot. It’s Sangiovese, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Cool.

You wine bloggers headed to Walla Walla for WBC2010 should definitely check this guys out.

5 comments to Mourvèdre Monday #12: Trio Vintners 2006 Yakima Valley

  • Yay! A Washington Mourvedre. I’m glad that you got to connect with these guys! I’m also pleased that you liked it. I can’t wait to try their Mourvedre. Great work, Jim!


  • Jim/VINEgeek

    I am glad I got to include a Washington Mourvèdre in the series. (And I hope to find a few more.) I was impressed with this winery – thanks for turning me on to them. Good juice, to be sure, but also nice packaging and nice copy on the website and tech sheet. I like their irreverence. Cheers, Jim

  • Hi Jim,
    interesting tasting ! … and funny blend.
    It’s quite usual to find an “alien” like this gewurtz in the vineyard. It’s incredible but when you command a variety to a nursery, almost every time they deliver few plants of another variety mixed with the one you wanted. But to my knowledge, no one till the trio vintners had taken advantage of this. What is more, it’s forbidden in Europe to do that (except in Champagne where they blend Pinot noir or meunier with Chardonnay, and in Côte Rôtie where they can blend Syrah with Viognier).
    Anyway, nice label and appetizing description.

  • Jim/VINEgeek

    Yes, and until recently, white grapes were allowed/used in Chianti, as well.

    I sometimes wonder if anyone has ever switched the ratio; in other words, included a little red in a predominantly white wine (other than in Champagne/sparking)

    Thanks for commenting, Dominique.

  • You’re right for Chianti. The same things with Rioja where they used before viura (=maccabeo) with the traditional tempranillo, garnacha and carignan.
    It’s complicated to use a small proportion of red in white of you don’t want to colour the wine. Even with a fast pressing, you have always a small quantity of anthocyanes which pass to the wine and oblige you after to use carbon to fade it (but with carbon you also leave other interesting compounds).
    In Priorato (Spain), the famous René Barbier, owner of CLOS MOGADOR do an original white wine with a lot of variety (grenache blanc, viognier, chardonnay, roussanne, …) and a little bit of Pinot noir to give acidity and freshness. He is obliged to fade it after numerous processes. In the center of Spain, you can find also a white wine made from a red variety, the classical tempranillo. It’s Pago del Vicario They don’t fade it but they are obliged to harvest it very early, just after the veraison, to avoid the accumulation of anthocyanes. It’s funny, very marketing, but not very “terroir”. For me, it does not have a lot of sense.
    Thanks for sharing you passion Jim

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