Wine Buzz: Naggier of Grass Valley wins big honor for 2009 mourvedre

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

Congratulations to Naggiar Vineyards & Winery of Grass Valley, which recently scored a big win for one of its wines.

Naggiar's 2009 Estate Mourvèdre was named best of show red at the 2012 West Coast Wine Competition, in which approximately 800 wines were entered.

These are hardly the first accolades for Naggiar. The winery earned gold medals at leading wine competitions for its syrah, petite sirah and cabernet franc, among others. But this win, which included entries from California, Washington, Oregon and other western states, went down especially sweet.

"We're delighted," said Mike Naggiar, the winery's founder. "We only enter the biggest five or six competitions. There's so many competitions that we could enter one literally every month, but that's very expensive for a small winery like us."

Naggiar's vineyards were planted in 1998, focusing on Rhone and Italian varietals. Like the acclaim for Naggiar, the area's wine industry at large has grown, as well.

"When we moved to the area there were five wineries," said Naggiar. "Now there are 15 – and that doesn't include the ones in Newcastle and Placer county. You really don't have to go to Amador and El Dorado county to have a great time."

While mourvèdre is often used as a blending grape, Naggiar has found success with bottling mourvèdre on its own. Its winning 2009 vintage is Naggiar's third bottling of mourvèdre. It was produced in a fairly small lot of 250 cases.

Mourvèdre can be a tricky grape to grow. It tends to ripen later than other reds and is picked as late as mid-Novemeber, making it susceptible to rain and rot damage.

But in the right conditions, mourvèdre can produce hearty wines with gripping tannins and pronounced dark fruit flavors.

"The flavor profile is very intense, like a dark syrah," said Naggiar. "There's notes of blackberries and what I call fall aromas and smells. It makes for a good fall or winter wine, and goes great with gamey dishes and barbecue."

Naggiar's 2009 Estate Mourvèdre costs $29. For more information: (530) 268-9059 or

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Read more articles by Chris Macias

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