Claire Hill Wines, Del Barba Vineyard, Mourvèdre, Contra Costa 2019

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Claire Hill Wines, Del Barba Vineyard, Mourvédre, Contra Costa 2019

Back in our younger days, we really enjoyed monster zins and big red Rhone wines like mourvèdre, carignane and grenache (usually clocking in at 14-15% ABV). But we were also hungover for days, post enjoyment. When we spotted the 12% ABV on the label of Claire Hill’s 2019 Mourvèdre, we were very excited because we haven’t cracked a bottle of that varietal in years. We don’t always judge a wine by it’s ABV (alcohol by volume), but it’s a good starting place in general if you’re looking for food friendly bottles. We emailed Claire for more details and she noted that even though this vintage is at a particularly low ABV, she tries to pick the grapes when they are not too green and underripe and the deep rooted old vines generally guarantee a nice level of acidity.

These mourvèdre grapes are dry farmed, just like our favorite Early Girls, and come from the hot and dry vineyards in Contra Costa where the Del Barba family have been stewards of the land for six generations. From Claire’s website notes:

These ancient tree-like vines grow own-rooted in Delhi blow sand, decomposed granite that has been deposited by wind and water. The Delta has hot days and little rainfall, but the vine’s roots go deep (more than 40 feet) to reach the water table below, which allows them to be dry-farmed.

The first word that popped into our head while drinking this 2019 was “elegant,” which it’s safe to say, is a description not often applied to mourvèdre. There’s plenty of that savory fruit so typical of the grape, but it’s painted in with a fine brush instead of a hammer. And that is apropos I guess, since Claire also painted the label.

We purchased this bottle from Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero.