Clarine my throat

La Clarine Farm 2010 Mourvèdre (Cedarville) – I don’t think that any number of blind guesses as to this wine’s varietal identity would ever have brought me to mourvèdre. Is that a good or bad thing? Well, it’s at best a long musing, at worst an unmitigated rant, so I’ll leave that aside for a moment and get to the wine itself. The unidentifiableness of the wine comes from the bright, freshly-pressed strawberries and light, tactile faux-electricity that leap from the glass. Only a dense atmosphere of somewhat-penetrable tannin gives this wine a varietal signature. Otherwise, it’s capital-N Natural, whether it is by practice or not (perusal of what information I have suggests that it is): fizzy funfruit, some brett, some VA (neither damaging or really even intrusive, but they’re there and perceptible), and so forth. If you’ve had southern French natural wines, and add some mental tannin, you already know what this tastes like.

If it sounds like I’m struggling between organoleptics and philosophy in this note, unable to take a position due to the tension between the two in my mind, the sound you hear is a true one. In the context of California wines, Sierra Foothills wines, whichever open peer group one chooses, this is a bold statement. And I do like the way it tastes (mostly). But in the context of natural wines, worldwide, it’s…another one. (1/12)

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