Winery: Churon Winery
Product/Varietal: Syrah + Mourvèdre
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
How They Describe It
Two Rhone Varietals that are meant to be together. Syrah lends the blend the back bone and tannic structure while the Mourvedre offers up the fruit and youthful acidity for a perfect balanced blend.
How I Describe It
The Churon 2014 Syrah Mourvèdre blend shows as a pale garnet, with slight clouding. At six years, this wine has gone through a fair amount of aging. However, the extent of the garneting indicates minimal use of preservatives to slow oxidation. Moreover, the paleness points toward reduced skin contact during fermentation.
This wine has reached maturity quickly. Stewed red plum and fig leap from the glass, followed by leather, truffle, unlit cigar, and wet leaves. There is still a fair amount of fresh fruit left on the nose, namely blackberry, black currant, red cherry and raspberry. There’s a distinct eucalyptus and fennel aroma, as well as finely ground black pepper and earthy dust from a fresh rain. As the wine breathes, the 2014 Syrah Mourvèdre releases an intriguing floral bouquet of rose and geranium. Oak and yeast are subtle, with a bit of bread toast, clove, and vanilla.
Stewed red and black berries lead, alongside dried cranberries and dried cherries. Cedar and tobacco illustrate the wine’s aging process. Cherry, cranberry, and black currant grow bolder as the wine breathes. There is a distinct vegetal flavor, primarily bell pepper and asparagus, though it doesn’t overpower the fruit. Fennel and black pepper contribute spice, and are common in from both varietals. Hints of toasted wood, biscuit, vanilla, and nutmeg round things out.
This is a dry wine with high alcohol (though, at 14.0% ABV, on the lower end by Rhône standards). Medium acid and unobtrusive medium tannins contribute to the wine’s medium body. Flavors have medium intensity, and the finish is medium.
Why is This Wine Special?
The Churon 2014 Syrah Mourvèdre is a first (and possibly the only) release of the Inn at Churon Winery’s two-Rhône-varietal blend. It’s nice that they allowed the wine to bottle age for as long as they did. Most Rhône varietals grown in Temecula are released after aging three or four years. This bottle has six years under its belt, and it seems the additional time had an effect.
Interestingly, Syrah and Mourvèdre tend to be darkly colored, boldly flavored wines. This blend is much lighter, both in hue and taste. While most likely an indication of the winemaker’s style, all of these characteristics combined have resulted in a wine which has reached it peak maturity now. In fact, the wine bears some resemblance to a well-aged Sangiovese.
As of May 2020, of the 183 cases originally produced, only 400 bottles remain (there are 12 bottles to a case) — yet another example of the rarity of Temecula wines.
When & How I Would Drink It
Firstly, since this is a wine which has reached peak maturity, the time it needs to breath is much less than younger versions. I found the aromas and flavors reached their full potential after around 30-45 minutes (younger Rhône-style wines should breath for around double that time).
This wine’s lighter style leads me to shy away from traditional Syrah our Mourvèdre food pairings (e.g., barbecue). Rather, consider pairing the Churon 2014 Syrah Mourvèdre with well-spiced (cooked or sun dried) tomato-based dishes, like margherita pizza, chips with roasted tomato salsa, or pasta with sun dried tomato pesto.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $41.99 (discounts for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 183 cases
Have you tried the Churon 2014 Syrah-Mourvèdre? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.