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To all Wine Exchangers,
Mourvedre is a pain in the rear.

We see it first-hand even in our own little vineyard out in front of the store.  It’s one of the last to do everything, leaves, flowering, fruit set, ripening.  You almost think something is wrong with it every year it's so far behind the Grenache and Syrah.

Because its late it is also one of the last to be picked, with a greater chance of being impacted by late weather at harvest.

Then there’s the picking window.  Pick it too early it’s green and uber-foresty, pick it too late and the flavors go flabby and porty…and tannic.

In short, why do it? 

And the answer? Because of wines like this one.

Brennon Leighton has quite possibly made the finest Mourvedre in America.

Many of you don’t know Brennon but you certainly know his wines.  He’s the Director of Winemaking at K Vintners, working with proprietor Charles Smith to craft some of the finest wines not just in Washington, but the world.

The K Vintners Boy Grenache we sold last month? That was him. 

Brennon also makes a small amount of wine under his own label, utilizing unique sites in Washington he discovered during his years as K Vintners man on the ground as well as his previous gigs working for Chateau Ste. Michelle (you gotta start somewhere, right?) and Efeste, where he worked with Chris Upchurch of DeLille.

In this case, Brennon is focusing on the Olsen Brothers Vineyard, located on the Northwest bend of the Yakima River as it turns North at Red Mountain. The elevation averages about 1000 feet and the soils are sandy with broken basalt.
Besides this gorgeous Mourvedre-dominated blend, Brennon also makes the best Petit Verdot in America and a killer Syrah from this same site!  More on those another time.

But for the B. Leighton Gratitude 2016, his homage to none other than the mecca of Mourvedre, Domaine Tempier in Bandol, Brennon co-ferments whole cluster 70% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache and 5% Syrah using only native yeast.  After 33 days on skins the wine goes into neutral oak puncheons for 18 months prior to gentle bottling.

The result? The greatest Mourvedre in America.  For us Rhonies it’s kind of a big deal.

Jeb Dunnuck raves, The Mourvedre-dominated 2016 Gratitude Blend (there’s 25% Grenache and 5% Syrah) is a flat-out awesome wine as well as possibly the greatest expression of the variety to come out of Washington State. Beautiful notes of black and blue fruits, dried earth, peppery spice, and loads of floral and rose petal notes all flow to a full-bodied red that has an incredible sense of elegance and purity as well as richness and depth. It’s great today and will be great in a decade. 96 points.”

Boom.

And the super-stingy ‘nothing over 95 points’ Stephen Tanzer?  He writes, “Subtly scented aromas of strawberry, cranberry, spices, red licorice, tree bark and rose petal. Supple, savory and fine-grained, with an essentially gentle texture enlivened by spice and tree bark notes and nicely integrated acidity. This is really quite complex and suave, with its restrained sweetness countered by salinity and a light touch...Another singular wine from the multi-talented Leighton. 93 points.

For those in the know, ‘93’ from Tanzer is huge, it’s like 98 points from Suckling…honestly!

You wanna know what else Stephen Tanzer gave ‘93’ to? Y’know, just for context:

Jacques Prieur Musigny 2015 ($1000 a bottle)

Duygat-Py Charmes Chambertin 2015 ($350+)

Bachelet Charmes Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2015 ($500+)

Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin 2015 ($450+)

Catch my drift?

As Jeb alluded to in his write-up, enjoy a little gratitude either now or a decade for now. Either way, you win, and have something to be especially grateful for.

Happy Hunting…
B Leighton Gratitude Red Blend Columbia Valley 2016
96 Points!  The Mourvèdre-dominated 2016 Gratitude Blend (there’s 25% Grenache and 5% Syrah) is a flat-out awesome wine as well as possibly the greatest expression of the variety to come out of Washington State. Beautiful notes of black and blue fruits, dried earth, peppery spice, and loads of floral and rose petal notes all flow to a full-bodied red that has an incredible sense of elegance and purity as well as richness and depth. It’s great today and will be great in a decade. - Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com
ONLY $36.98
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