by Daniel Kelada, Wine Writer, Texas Wine and Trail; Founding Director of the Texas Wine Journal
The Texas Wine Review is a weekly column that aims to provide insight and reviews of Texas wines using a professional evaluation approach while encouraging the discovery and enjoyment of wines from across the State of Texas.
Producer: Bending Branch Winery
Appellation: Texas High Plains
Vineyard Name: Reddy Vineyard
Wine Type: Dry Red
Bottled: September 2013
Total Production: 145 cases
Brix at Harvest: 22.0
Date of Review: 1/23/2014 Time: 1:15pm Glassware: ISO
Quality of Style: 4.5 Drinkability:4.5 DK 92/100
Visually when you think of classic Mourvèdre (Bandol pronounced Bahn-dohl) you think of dark and extracted ruby color and as that wine ages (say 7-10 years down the road) the extraction begins to fall out and you get softer almost velvet-like looking ruby that still maintains it’s brightness. It should also be noted that Bandol in the classical sense is always a blend where a maximum of 95% or a minimum of 50% of the wine is Mourvèdre, which allows the wine to get color from other varietals. This wine is bright ruby in color with undertones of red-violet but unlike classical Mourvèdre based wines it has light extraction; signaling that it is not a blend. The 24 months in oak contributes to this lighter extraction. The smooth transition of color in the glass is another sign of lengthy time in barrel (keeping in mind the vintage), which combined with the light extraction makes this wine a beginner Mourvèdre; more on what that means below.
The aromas coming out of the glass are seductive. There is this incredible layered and integrated black and blueberry compote with sweet spices including paprika, cinnamon and black cardamom, which gives way to a smokey coolness that is really intriguing and pleasant. The oak is definitely a dominate factor on the nose but it does share the stage with the varietal character. After some time swirling and smelling I also get some sweet grassy elements, which reminds me of fresh cut grass after it has dried out.
Going back to this idea of a beginner Mourvèdre, classically this varietal produces very tight, firm tannins that produce wines that are big and bold allowing for considerable aging. This wine however is a lot more feminine in style with dialed back tannin and body. The flavors are as intriguing as the aromas with flavors of tamarind, mixed berries and baking spices. There is also this savory gaminess and a recurring cardamom element. The finish is long with flavors of star anise. Structurally the wine is medium to full bodied, has lively to supple acid and a balanced but soft tannin attack.
It is a gateway wine that will start an obsession with Mourvèdre. It is a perfect wine to introduce to people with little or no experience with this particular varietal. That being said, for me the most interesting element of this wine is the progression of flavor on the palate; the flavors are easy to identify but how they unfold across the palate makes me smile.
Drink or Hold: Now – 2018
Complete Evaluation (click here for pdf attachment)
Daniel is a Executive Sommelier, Master Candidate and Senior Wine Instructor with the International Wine Guild and through the Guild teaches accredited wine certifications and seminars in Texas and around the country. He has a background in BioChemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and in 2008, he founded GUSTO Tastings, a wine education company with expertise in consulting and event curation. He is a founding partner in Vinovium Partners, a Texas négociant that specializes in premium wines on tap from Texas and abroad. Daniel is also the Tasting Director for the Texas Wine Journal, a subsidiary of the Texas Wine and Food Consortium.