Winery: Avensole Winery
Product/Varietal: 49% Mourvèdre, 31% Grenache, 20% Syrah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Tim Kramer
How They Describe It
This splendid wine is a blend of three varieties of grapes typically found in the appellation of France known as Côtes du Rhone. Comprised of 49% Mourvèdre, 31% Grenache and 20% Syrah, and aged for 29 months in French and American oak, this wine is highlighted by notes of light currant and caramel. We call this “Enchanté” because, like the French word, we think it will leave you enchanted.
How I Describe It
This wine showed surprisingly pale. The color was predominantly ruby red, though the oak and bottle aging revealed slight tinges of garnet.
The most prominent aromas come from the 29 months the wine spent in oak barrels — cedar, toast, clove, and nutmeg. Fruity smells largely trend toward red fruit, including cranberry, strawberry, and raspberry. Eucalyptus and mint can also be detected, the former I suspect is a somewhat tell–tale characteristic of Temecula’s terrior. Additionally, subtle stony minerality, as well as earthy dust and mushroom, kicked up from a first rain, round out tertiary scents.
As with the nose, in the 2015 Enchanté oak flavors lead. Vanilla and woody cedar are most prominent, with undertones of nutmeg and clove. Strawberry and cherry are the strongest fruit tastes, though there are detectable notes of raspberry, cranberry, and red plum — the latter very common in Mourvèdre-based wines. Uniquely, the wine has herbacious notes reminiscent of fresh cut grass or arugula. Enchanté’s age manifests with savory truffle as well.
This is a dry wine, with medium acid, medium tannin, medium alcohol, and medium body. Flavors and aromas are medium-plus intensity, and have a medium-plus finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
If you’ve read other TWR posts, you’ll notice Temecula wines’ alcohol trends toward the higher ends. That’s not an accident; the hot, sunny climate allows grapes to develop more sugar than in colder climates like Napa. And to create dry wines, winemakers need to ferment most or all of the sugar — producing more alcohol.
However, Avensole Winery’s 2015 Enchanté is only 13.5% ABV. That’s in line with global average alcohol content, but on the low side for Temecula. Sometimes, that means winemakers harvest their grapes early, before the sugar content peaks. Unfortunately, that also limits the amount of time the grapes develop more complex flavors, and early harvest wines can have very monotone characteristics.
That said, Avensole’s winemakers were able to create a Temecula-based wine with both reasonable alcohol content and delightfully layered flavors. And for that, they deserve considerable praise.
In full disclosure, the bottle described here was donated by Avensole Winery. Other than providing the wine itself, there was no exchange of anything which would have influenced or unfairly biased this review.
It’s also worth noting Avensole Winery is an outstanding place to visit. Since you likely won’t find this wine in any retailer, you might as well enjoy their terrific restaurant and regular live entertainment, as well.
When & How I Would Drink It
This is one of those wine which is perfect with dinner. It’s robust enough to complement oily, fatty or savory dishes, but light enough that it also doesn’t over-stimulate.
I would pair this with oily seasoned fish (e.g., blackened salmon), dark poultry meat, pork loin, lamb, and pesto or butter-based pasta sauces.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $48.95 ($39.16 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 550
Have you tried the Avensole 2015 Enchanté? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.