Lime Kiln Valley, California 2017
In some ways, this is the unsung hero grape of the ever popular GSM blends. In the Southern Rhône, everything revolves around Grenache, and rightly so. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the shining star, and one that winemakers from all over the world try so hard to emulate, but often fall short. Bandol is where Mourvèdre is most cherished, not only for the base of the world’s most revered Rosé wines but also a small number of underknown but very age worthy reds. Perhaps we’re still awaiting to see the best expression of this grape – it has gained ground in California and producers are increasingly taking the chance to feature it as a single varietal.
Caitlin Quinn is no doubt a rising star in the winemaking world and certainly well entrenched in the Seven Percent crew of producers. She has worked with Sebastien at Unti Vineyards and is currently the Assistant Winemaker at Arnot-Roberts (yes… Seven Percent is a pretty tight knit crew.) Caitlin grew up around the SLO wine growing region, as well as in Santa Cruz, making her well versed in finding the potential in little pocket vineyards throughout California. She is an intense student of the trade as well, always quietly noting what needs to be learned while at the same time already more knowledgeable than so many peers with more years under their belts. This is her first vintage of her long anticipated own label, and she has turned heads immediately. Nothing more exciting than learning about a future rock star from the ground floor.
Dusty dark cocoa and star anise, blueberry jam spread on caraway packed pumpernickel toast. Crushed violets and some delightful high notes that recall a light roast coffee. A fabulous example of how delicate and nuanced this often brawny grape can be in the right hands. Similar to its aforementioned Rhône brethren, the expression of Mourvèdre in California tends to be pretty heavily extracted and big. But Caitlin has an approach that seems to coax all of the complex beauty from the fruit without resulting in the more common burly style wine overall. The tannin and acidic structure let you know immediately that this is still a pretty serious wine, not to be taken lightly, but perhaps it exudes a strength and confidence enough where it doesn’t need to carry a big stick.