Tessier Gold Bud Vineyard Mourvedre 2018
Savory and spicy and everything nice, the Goldbud Mourvedre is a spice chest of aromatics. Roasted vanilla and molasses mingle with clove, lavender and coffee on the nose and introduce a palate that’s plush with spiced plums, ginger, mulberry, and Earl Grey tea. The texture is fleshy, yet the structure is focused and muscular.
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Tessier is the result of Kristie’s passion for the art and science of winemaking. She began handcrafting small lots of Pinot Noir and has added Grenache, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir and Mourvedre. Kristie’s appreciation of French wines — especially those from Burgundy and the Loire and Rhone valleys — has shaped her winemaking choices. Pinot will always be her first love, and in 2017, Wine & Spirits awarded her 2014 Saveria Vineyard Pinot Noir 96 points, the highest score for that variety in the past year.
With a background in microbiology, Kristie is fascinated by the cycle of life; each vintage of Tessier wines captures and reflects one year in the lives of the vineyards she works with. She sources high-quality fruit from a strong network of farmers in the Russian River Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and El Dorado foothills. She then uses minimal-interventionist winemaking techniques to showcase the unique characteristics of the grapes and the vineyards. For Kristie, sustainability is a priority — not only with the vineyards’ farming practices, but also by having long-term relationships with her growers and customers. With an annual production of 750 cases, Kristie is able to give unparalleled attention to each wine.
As home to California’s highest altitude vineyards, El Dorado is also one of its oldest wine growing regions. When gold miners settled here in the late 1800s, many also planted vineyards and made wine to quench its local demand.
By 1870, El Dorado County, as part of the greater Sierra Foothills growing area, was among the largest wine producers in the state, behind only Los Angeles and Sonoma counties. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking and grape growing was totally abandoned. But some of these vines still exist today and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
El Dorado has a diverse terrain with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,500 feet, creating countless mesoclimates for its vineyards. This diversity allows success with a wide range of grapes including whites like Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as for reds, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Barbera and especially, Zinfandel.
Soils tend to be fine-grained volcanic rock, shale and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nights are cool and the area typically gets ample precipitation in the form or rain or snow in the winter.
Full of ripe fruit, and robust, earthy goodness, Mourvèdre is actually of Spanish provenance, where it still goes by the name Monastrell or Mataro. It is better associated however, with the Red Blends of the Rhône, namely Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Mourvèdre shines on its own in Bandol and is popular both as a single varietal wine in blends in the New World regions of Australia, California and Washington. Somm Secret—While Mourvèdre has been in California for many years, it didn’t gain momentum until the 1980s when a group of California winemakers inspired by the wines of the Rhône Valley finally began to renew a focus on it.