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Deep Sky Vineyard just opened their tasting room in Sonoita. I haven’t been yet (I’ve been chained to the tasting room and unable to visit Sonoita so far this year), but I’ve encountered the Asmundsons and their wines at several festivals throughout the state. I picked up the 2014 Supernova at the Arizona Wine Grower’s Association gala and festival back in January when I dragged Bess with me. In honor of their new tasting room, I decided to crack open my bottle, play around with my camera, and drink.
The Wine: The 2014 Supernova is a blend of 84% Mourvedre, and 16% Counoise, sourced from the Deep Sky Vineyard in the Willcox AVA, specifically, the Willcox Bench. This wine was made at the Aridus facility in Willcox, by Rob Hammelman. There is definitely some evidence on the palate of oak, so I would guess this wine saw a little bit of New French or Hungarian oak. If I had to guess, the Counoise in this blend is likely imparting additional acidity, but I’m not all that familiar with it as a varietal. I will probably be exploring Counoise next, or at least before May is out–with a bottle I have from PSC.
The Nose: The nose of the 2014 Supernova wine opens with notes of cherry, orange peel, plum, cavendish pipe tobacco, bay leaves, geraniums, boysenberry, and anise, along with those classic notes of Willcox dust. Hints of sandalwood and vanilla indicate this wine was aged in oak. As the wine opens in the glass, additional notes of violets and rosemary emerge in the glass.
The Palate: The 2014 Supernova is a big and juicy medium-bodied red with notes of mulberry, cherry, orange peel, and burly tobacco on the opener, intermingling with black pepper, the classic dusty notes I associate with Willcox, a vibrant acidity, and leathery tannins. As the wine opens, additional floral notes of violets and lilac emerge, along with sandalwood. The finish lasts for 1 minute and 25 seconds, with notes of anise, dust, burly tobacco, and mulberry. This wine, to me at least, tastes pretty well balanced between fruit, tannins, and acidity, but also a little rustic.
The Pairing: My immediate desire is to have this wine with a venison or elk roast, with rosemary, prickly pear marinade, roasted potatoes, and squash. A vegetarian or vegan pairing for this wine requires something equally savory; a dish of rice and wild mushrooms, with slow-roasted vegetables, sounds ideal…. but be sure you know what you’re doing and know your fungi.
Impressions: I really enjoy the rustic, earthy quality of Arizona Mourvedre, and this particular blend has a nice bit of extra acidity, imparted by the Counoise. The Counoise also gives it a distinctly masculine character, versus so many other Mourvedre vintages I’ve imbibed from Arizona. Personified, this wine makes me think of a shepherd, watching the stars to tell the season, looking for the change between winter and spring.
Fun Facts about Mourvedre: Mourvedre is the same grape as Monastrell in Spain. The variety was possibly introduced to Catalonia by the Phoenicians around 500 BC, making it one of the oldest grapes in the Western Meditteranean. (Whether from North Africa or the Levant is another question entirely.) It may also be related to–or the same grape as the Bulgarian grape Mavrud, but no genetic testing has been done to determine this.