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It’s been a while since I’ve explored anything from the Chiricahua foothills, so let’s return to Keeling Schaefer Vineyards… and continue our accidental exporation into Arizona Mourvedre that I started by accident.
I also did a special photoshoot of this wine at the Jerome cemetary (Tis the season, after all), so here’s the Special Halloween/Day of the Dead wine review on the Arizona Wine Monk blog! It’s quite a photogenic place, and I’ll be uploading other photos I took of this wine on the The Wine Monk facebook page.
Wine: The 2013 Schaefer Boys Mourvedre is 100% Mourvedre, coming from the Rock Creek vineyard, in the Chiricahua foothills, rather than the Willcox Bench. These vines are on 100% ENTAV certified clone #233, grafted onto 1103P rootstock, which were planted 6 years prior to harvest. The total yield of these vines was 3.68 tons per acre, at 27-28 Brix. (Brix, by the way, is the unit for measuring sugar content, in case you were wondering). The grapes were then destemmed and cold-soaked for 4 days, then innoculated with VRB yeast, which is of Spanish Origin. After the end of fermention and pressing, this wine was racked into 50% new American Oak, and 50% neutral barrels. The 2013 Schaefer Boys was aged 14 months in barrel, racked once, and unfined and unfiltered. It is one of the Reserve wines from Keeling Schaefer
Nose: Cedar, Plum, chokecherry, clove, cinnamon, and sage are the opening notes on this wine, intermingled with some iris. After the wine’s been open for a time, the nose becomes a little richer and more nuanced, with some notes of cassis, pencil shavings, sage, tobacco, and lavender.
Palate: The American oak in this wine definately shows: strong notes of cedar and vanilla intermingle with cinnamon, clove, and plum. The palate of this wine feels a little lighter than some other expressions of this grape coming from Arizona, but it’s still decidedly medium-bodied. As the wine opens, further notes of blueberry, juicy blackberry, and granitic gravel emerge from the finish of this wine, which lasts for about 40 seconds. This wine also has a high acidity, which would lend itself well to food pairing.
Pairing: I would pair this wine with some lamb kebobs with some green peppers, with a hint of paprika (Turkish-style), or a nice, rich, and spicy lentil soup with some shitake mushrooms if you’re going for a vegan/vegetarian friendly pairing.
Impression: I feel like this Mourvedre is just a little lighter than most other expressons of Mourvedre-majority vintages in the state, like the latest Mourvedre from Flying Leap, the Last Shot from D.A Ranch, the Earth from Fire Mountain, and the Estate Mourvedre from Kief-Joshua. Of the Mourvedre wines I’ve had in the state so far, only the Cobble from Hannah’s Hill and the Incanto from Lightning Ridge are “lighter”(although to be expected, since the latter *is*a rosé).
Whether this is because of the fact that the soils and terroir of the Chiricahaua foothills is markedly different from Willcox and Sonoita (which makes sense; this region is mostly on rhyolite or granite, versus the alluvial soils of Willcox and limestones of Sonoita) or for some other reason requires further research on my part to speak of intelligently. I’m not as familiar with the terroir of this particular wine region, though my understanding is that several new vineyards have popped up there so more answers will be forthcoming.
That all being said, the 2013 Schaefer Boys is a good food-friendly Mourvedre; a style Arizona seems to be excelling at. I maintain that Mourvedre is one of our best red grapes here; better than Grenache and, from my understanding, easier to grow here than Syrah. This wine is alsoparticularly interesting for the choice of American Oak, which is not often something you see this grape aged in. This particular Mourvedre is a 1930’s jazz singer who also dabbles in piano.