As with most varietals, the difference between new world expression and old world character is enormous. Take one of my favorite Rhone grapes, Mourvedre (aka Monastrell in Spain). The old world character of this red grape is often the recipient of such non-fruit descriptions like, "butcher shop," meaty, gamey and wild. Produced in Aussie, Cali, South Africa or even in some of the modern-styled wines of Spain, Mourvedre morphs into a mighty fruity wine with scents of blackberry jam, black cherry and stewed raspberry. Yet, even in its tamest, fruitiest form, Mourvedre always slides in something unexpected. Occasionally, you'll get a whiff of eucalyptus, clove, tobacco or dark chocolate...or even meat.
So how would Mourvedre perform as a Rosé? Will it be all yummy strawberry followed by bacon?
Fortunately, Cline's 2006 Mourvedre Rosé ($15) doesn't finish off with any flavors that could be construed as meaty. It does however offer a nifty flavor combo of fresh strawberry, red plum and a touch of clove. While This pinkie is a bit big on the -OH side (13%), it rights itself with a spritz of acidity and a touch of textured tannin. As with most rosé wines, Cline's pink Mourvedre will do its duty with nearly any unpretentious food. Try it with a turkey burger, cheese pizza or pasta.