?Mourvdre is the favorite grape here, without a doubt,? Neil Collins says. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
Here are five great Mourvèdre-based wines from Paso Robles, Calif. Because they are produced in small quantities, it may be necessary to order them from the winery.
2007 Anglim Winery Mourvèdre "Hastings Ranch Vineyard" ($34): Quite a spicy wine, with notes of cinnamon, star anise and black pepper. Black plum fruit comes through on the mid-palate and drives through to the finish. 14.9% alcohol. http://www.anglimwinery.com
2007 Edward Sellers Mourvèdre ($35): Dark cherry fruit with black pepper and a gamy "low note" to keep it interesting. 14.8% alcohol. http://www.edwardsellers.com
2008 Tablas Creek Vineyard "Esprit de Beaucastel" ($50): A balanced wine with cherry and raspberry fruit and an appealing savory note. The Perrin family's wines in France are known for being earthy; this rendition of a classic Rhône-style blend is all California. 14.5% alcohol. http://www.tablascreek.com
2007 Twilight Cellars Mourvèdre "Eclipse" ($25): An expressive wine with raspberry fruit and notes of sea salt, iodine and graphite. With air, the fruit strengthens and the other notes keep shifting, making it interesting. 14.6% alcohol. http://www.twilightcellars.com
2007 Villa Creek Cellars "Damas Noir" ($40): A very spicy wine with notes of black pepper, cumin and sea salt. Calls out for grilled meat. 15.2% alcohol. http://www.villacreek.com
—W. Blake Gray