The rise and fall in the popularity of grape types is a strange thing. I for one would love to be able to predict what’s going to be next. There aren’t that many grape varieties, so surely it can’t be that tough, can it? There are, however, some grape varieties that are likely never to reach the international success of say Pinot Grigio or Kiwi Sauvignon but for me that makes them all the more exciting. Today’s grape variety is Mourvèdre.
Firstly a few facts –it is a native of Spain and known as Monastrell. In France it goes by the name of Mourvèdre and the New World, by in large, use Mataro. However, Mataro is slowly being phased out. It has thick skins, small dark berries, buds and ripens late, can adapt to a wide variety of soils and thrives in hot sunny conditions. Although vineyard locations and winemaking techniques result in a variety of different flavour characteristics, a generalisation would be to say the wines display sweet black fruit, have distinctly herby aromatics, are generally heady and often described as showing a ‘farmyardy’ character.
To try as a single varietal I’d recommend starting in Spain, as previously highlighted it is its birthplace and it’s also a lot kinder on the wallet than say Australia or California. Having said this both of the later have some truly top-class examples. The best and most well known blends undoubtedly hail from the Southern Rhône, but you really don’t need to buy a Chateauneuf du Pape to get a good glass of wine. Mourvedre is widely used across the Languedoc because of its affinity with both Grenache and Syrah. Possibly the purest expression of Mouvedre, available from outside of Spain, are the wines produced from the fruit of the terraced vineyards on the Mediterranean coast, France’s Bandol. Getting your hands on some can be a bit tricky as it is much loved by the locals.
If you like the idea of trying a wine produced from Mourvèdre then I’d recommend the following from VW…
Juan Gil Monastrell Monastrell 2010
La Multa Muciana Old Vine Monastrell 2010
Domaine des Trinites Les Mourels 2007