Mar 2, 2020
The grape miniseries continues! This time we cover the grape
known as Monstrell in Spain, Mourvèdre in France, and Mataro in
other parts of the world. Difficult to grow and make, when treated
well the wines from this grape are unlike any other -- herbal,
The key things to know about Monastrell/Mourvèdre:
- The grape originated in Spain, and then moved to the
Roussillon, Rhône, and Provence in France. It needs a lot of
heat to grow, so it can only thrive in hot locations with lots of
sun but ample water.
- Flavors: They vary greatly depending on
where the wine is made, but generally it has deep color, full body,
is tannic and high in alcohol.
- Spain: can be more like red fruit -- cherries and raspberries
with spice and herbs.
- France, especially Bandol: the wines have more dark fruit (if
any fruit character at all) with spice, olives, herbs
(garrigue as they call it in southern France), and a gamy,
barnyard or wild animal smell to the wine. With time (3-5 years)
that flavor mellows to something more akin to leather or tobacco
and the tannins calm. In the new works styles are less tannic and
- In blends: Mourvèdre adds fullness, flavor and
structure that complements the more lifted Grenache and the elegant
- In rosé: The grape helps these wines have longevity,
lending tannin and great flavor to the wine
- Food Pairings: Meats or root/hearty vegetables
that are braised, grilled, or in a stew. Hard cheeses work
Where can you find it?
- Provence: Especially Bandol, where the finest
Mourvèdre is made. Producers we mentioned are Domaine Tempier (reds and rosé), Château de Pibarnon
- Languedoc-Roussillon: one to watch for more
varietal Mourvèdre in the future
- Rhône: in blends and especially in
Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We mention Beaucastel as having a high percentage of
Spain (called Monastrell)
- Central and southeast Spain: Murcia, Castilla-La
- Main grape in: Alicante, Almansa, Jumilla, Valencia, Yecla,
- Producers: Luzon, Juan Gil, Castaño, El Nido, Casa de la Ermita
- Northern and Central CA: Contra Costa County (old
plantings found here), San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Sonoma
Other US: Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, TX, Virginia,
Chile, South Africa
- Used as a component in GSMs -- Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre
- South Australia: Riverland (bulk wine), Barossa,
- New South Wales: Riverina (bulk wine area)
- Producers making single varietal Mourvèdre:
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