It’s amazing how the wines of Thierry & Véronique Boudinaud just keep getting better and better. Not that they were ever disappointing, mind you… Five generations of winemaking and a profound commitment to lifelong professional education allow for a great deal of skill-perfecting, after all.

The Boudinaud estate, located in the tiny commune of Fournès

Jose Tomas

Spanish bullfighter Jose Tomas faces a bull during the Feria, in Nimes, southern France, Friday, May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

along the right bank of the Rhone River, has definitely put itsbest foot forward with their2008 Mataró Cotes du Rhone, though. The grape here is more commonly known in France as Mourvèdre, though it made its way to the new world in the mid to late 1800s under its alter ego,Mataró – A name taken from a town near Barcelona where the varietal was grown. The Boudinauds decided to use this version of the word, althoughthere are over 50 different names for this grape worldwide, includingBalzar, Drug, and Plant De Saint Gilles (To quote Bill S., “what’s in a name?”). Furthermore, their decision to release a 100% Mourvèdre is as impressive as the wine itself. The grape isn’t typically bottled as a single variety, but more often as part of a blend with other Rhone varietals, such as Syrah and Grenache (it’s the “M” in a GSM blend).

As a late-ripening grape that thrives in high heat, it’s not every Dick & Jane winemaker that can handle it in the vineyard, nor tame its meaty flavors and grippy tannins (What’s Bill’s other saying, “if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the vineyard”??). Furthermore, unlike other wines of the 2008 vintage which show a much more plush, fruit-forward profile, the Mataró Cotes du Rhone is a dark, robust wine with a structure more reflective of the attention-garnering 2009 vintage than its own.That’s not to say it isn’t drinking beautifully right now, as a little decanting goes a long way with this one. Deep, dark, and full-bodied, blackberry & currants lurk beneath a savory mélange of leather, black pepper, graphite, and game-like flavors with a dusty, finely-ground-coffee type texture to the finish that is surprisingly approachable and pleasant (I guess that’s where the 2008 part comes in). It is the type of wine that begs to be paired with grilled meats, sautéed mushrooms, and a generous amount of dried herbs and spices to complement its savory and earthy personality. If single-variety releases like this are the future of Mourvèdre in the Rhone Valley, the future is looking mighty bright. – Emily Crichton