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by Fred McMillin
for July 15, 1997

A Down-to-Earth Wine

Prologue: "Earthy flavors in wine are easy to recognize, almost impossible to describe."

...Encyclopedia of Wine by Schoonmaker and Bespaloff

The Rest of the Story: OK, it's difficult to describe "earthy," but let's try. Truffles, concrete, mushrooms, dust, gravel...in both the nose and the mouth. That's about the best we can do. But a taste is worth a thousand words, so we suggest you take a sip of Sebastiani's "Old Vine" 1994 Mourvedre. The grape is noted for producing earthy wines. Winemaker Mark Lyon detects it in the first sniff, and finds it still there as the flavors linger in the back of the throat. So, if you want to learn what "earthy" means, grab a bottle or two of this one before they're all gone.

1994 "Old Vines" Mourvedre, Appellation—California
Sebastiani Vineyards
Sonoma, CA
Contact—Jason Breaw, (707)938-5532
Food Pairings—Serve with your favorite robust dishes, be they Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, etc.

Postscript: Mourvedre has gained its fame as a Rhone Valley varietal, but that's not home. It originated in Spain, where there is a town near Valencia called Murviedro.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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