Dirty & Rowdy Family Wines' Mourvèdre Wine

Santa Barbara Mourvèdre gets Dirty & Rowdy

"Mourvèdre was always in the top 50 grapes I wanted to make wine from."

That's what Hardy Wallace, one-quarter of Dirty & Rowdy Family Wines, says jokingly of the brawny grape.

And yet Dirty & Rowdy just put out its first release, about four years after Wallace shifted from wine blogging to winemaking, and two of the wines are made from Mourvèdre–a grape Hardy and his cohorts are now obsessed with.

How Dirty & Rowdy came to champion the grape, the sole red varietal they work with, was an accident. After a fall heat wave ruined the Muscat for the first vintage in 2010, a hunt for new fruit led to the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard.

Located closer to Interstate 5 than Lompoc, the vines there struggle through life at 3,400 feet. Picked early and fermented in whole clusters, both the 2010 and 2011 wines are light and low in alcohol.

Dirty & Rowdy will make its L.A. debut at a Sunday tasting ($12) at Domaine L.A., where Hardy Wallace will pour both Mourvèdres–the bitter-edged, berry-bright 2010 ($33 for 750 ml), and the more tart, floral 2011 ($33 for 750 ml)–alongside the slightly wild, cloudy, skin-fermented 2010 Semillon ($25 for 750 ml).   

Domaine L.A., 6801 Melrose Ave., Mid-City; 323-932-0280 or domainela.com