May 2010 Wine Blogging Wednesday #69: The Dog Strangler Grape

The Passionate Foodie Pronounces the theme for the next Wine Blogging Wednesday as “Animal Cruelty”.

That’s right, for the 69th edition Wine Blogging Wednesday we will be drinking and writing about wines made with the “dog-strangler” grape aka Mourvedre, Monastrell or Mataro (or possibly 30 other names!).

I didn’t know until I read his post that “in southern France, this grape is sometimes known as Estrangle-Chien (which translates as “dog strangler”), because of its big tannins.”

I do know that no matter what you or he might call this grape, I call it one of my favorites. And that everyone that I have talked to about it calls it monstrously hard to grow because of a few perculiarities to the varietal and that it ripens so late.

My first introduction to mourvedre came in the form of a blend with grenache, the 2001 RBJ Theologicum, the sinner and the saint, which I picked up at a Grateful Palate Warehouse sale. I fell in love, and it was an easy matter to convince me to try a straight mataro from 2002. I’d never had one before and I loved the wine’s complexity, its soulfulness, its animalness. It was full of flavors I didn’t expect in a wine. It was marvel to me, and I went searching for more, whether straight or blended with grenach or teamed with syrah or other red rhone blends, from AUS or US or?

So as you can imagine, I am howling with delight over this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday theme! Now the challenge to decide which one to write about? Twisted Oak River of Skulls is a favorite but I’ve written about it a few times now. I’ll just have to go see what’s in the cellar and at Ventura Wine Company!

To join in on WBW#69, find and drink a wine that contains 50% or more Mourvedre (Red, Rosé or Dessert). You can also earn bonus points by comparing Mourvedre from two different countries OR taste a Red, Rosé and Dessert Wine. The deadline to participate is next Wednesday May 19, 2010. Email a link to your post to

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