Mourvedre (Mourvèdre) is a warm-climate red wine grape grown in many regions, including the Rhone Valley and Provence in France, Valencia and Jumilla in Spain, California, Washington State and Australia. You’ll find my Top 10 Mourvèdre reviews and ratings here.
5 Surprising Facts about Mourvèdre:
1. Mourvedre is a Spanish vitis vinifera grape, first grown in Murviedro, a small town near Valencia. Mourvedre is easier to grow in Spain than in the cooler region of southern France where it is more susceptible to disease.
2. Mourvedre, or Monastrell as it is known in Spain, is declining in plantings there, but is experiencing a resurgence in France, California and Australia, where’s it’s called Mataro and is often blended with Grenache or Shiraz and referred to as GSM.
3. In the Rhone Valley’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines, Mourvedre is one of 13 grapes allowed in the blend. Elsewhere in France, Mourvedre is blended with Cinsault or Carignan for rosé.
4. Mourvedre needs warm summers to ripen fully. California winemakers planted Mourvedre vines as early as 1870 to produce bulk table wines.
Mourvedre buds and ripens late in the season, producing compact cone-shaped bunches conducive to the warm climates it inhabits.
5. Mourvedre can be temperamental to grow, prone to powdery mildew and downy mildew, temperature sensitivity and overly abundant foliage, which requires canopy management.
Mourvedre’s characteristics vary depending on the region it is planted. Mourvedre is high in tannin, alcohol and colour, reflective of the warm climates in which it grows.
Other characteristics include aromas and flavours that are gamey and earthy, along with soft red fruit and perfume. Young Mourvedre can have the infamous “barnyard” notes, but these soften with age to denote forest floor and leather aromas.
The phylloxera epidemic in the late 1800s all but wiped out Mourvedre in France as well as throughout Europe. During the recovery process afterwards, it was discovered that Mourvedre did not take well to grafting to phylloxera-resistant American rootstock. Since WWII newer clones and better rootstock have allowed Mourvedre to graft easily and flourish.
Pair Mourvedre with dark chocolate, heavy meats, blue cheese and sausage.
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