Mourvèdre is also known as Monastrell in Spain. Occasionally it can be found as Mataró in America and Australia but this is an outdated name. Mourvèdre, used in France, is an important variety in the Rhone Valley, Languedoc and Provence. It is also part of the more famed GSM blend, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre which originated in France but is now popular worldwide. Spain has the highest plantings of the variety.
Highly tannic, full-bodied and high in alcohol sums up the structure of Mourvèdre. This is a big grape variety that produces big wines. Due to the structure of Mourvèdre, it often needs time to soften and become accessible. The wines can age for 10-20 years and develop wonderful tertiary flavours of leather, earth and tobacco notes. Oak ageing is very common developing toasted wood and sweeter vanilla notes that can balance out the grapes natural gamey flavours.
However, Mourvèdre is also used to produce rosé wine which may be unexpected due to the prominent tannins.
Mourvèdre likes heat. It will not grow in cool areas and needs long, hot days to ripen fully otherwise the tannins will be green and astringent.
Bandol is located in Provence in the South of France and famed for its red wines, however, white and rosé are also produced. It is where Mourvèdre really shines and the red wines must contain at least 50% of the grape. These are age-worthy wines that to be truly enjoyed need time.
The Rhone Valley
Mourvèdre requires some of the warmest sites here and is widely grown in the Southern Rhone Valley and used as a blending component, typically with Grenache and Syrah. It is one of the permitted varieties in the world-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation.
Plantings greatly decreased after the area was hit by the destructive phylloxera mite. Since then it is mainly used in GSM blends producing either red wines or rosé.
The majority of plantings of Monastrell (Mourvèdre) are in Spain. It is one of the most widely planted varieties here. Spain is also likely to be where Monastrell originates from.
Monastrell is widely planted in Murcia. In the Jumilla DO Monastrell is the most planted variety. The hot weather helps ripen the variety. Great value for money wines can be found here.
Again, Monastrell is the most widely planted variety in Valencia, particularly in the coastal appellation of Alicante.
It is also grown in Australia, South Africa and California (America), where it is typically used for GSM blends.