I'm a sucker for deals on old wines. They are often discounted because a store is eager to unload them. However, they come with risk. If they were in excellent condition, they wouldn't be discounted, right?
While touring Domaine Tempier in Bandol, I noticed a half-dozen wines from La Laidiere, a neighboring property Domaine Tempier had recently acquired. Red blends (mourvedre, grenache and cinsault) dating back to the 1991 vintage were selling for under 30 euros apiece. I'm sure Tempier got them with the deal and was eager to sell them because they were someone else's wine.
Veronique Peyraud, one of the sisters running Domaine Tempier, recommended to me the 1993 because it had the highest concentration of mourvedre -- 80 percent. For about $30, how could I resist?
It was a fabulous wine -- the fruit was a little tired, but the structure was holding up. It showed the longevity of wines made mostly from mourvedre.
Veronique was right to point me to a mourvedre-dominated wine. I enjoyed Domaine Tempier's 2014 red blend -- about 60 percent mourvedre -- the following night. It was a beautiful, tannic monster with dense, complex dark berry fruit. Clearly, it could age 20 years.
Mourvedre, called monastrell in neighboring Spain, is a foundation grape to blends made in southern France. Although it often has off-putting aromas, mourvedre provides the hammer to a blend. Grenache and cinsault soften the wine and their floral elements offset the rotten egg notes that often accompany mourvedre.
Tempier's mourvedre now has me in search of similar wines from the Bandol area.