Mourvèdre: The Powerful Red Wine Deserving of Recognition

Immerse yourself in the lesser-known but fascinating world of Mourvèdre, a red grape variety celebrated for its depth, complexity, and unique flavor profile. Often playing a supporting role in blends, particularly in Rhône-style wines, Mourvèdre is a grape that, when conditions allow, can create wines of immense character and distinction in its own right.

A Brief History

Mourvèdre’s origins are believed to be in Spain, where it is known as Monastrell and has been cultivated since at least the Middle Ages. The grape was introduced to other Mediterranean wine regions, including France’s Rhône Valley, where it found a new home and gained prominence. Its journey hasn’t always been smooth, with the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century nearly wiping out Mourvèdre vineyards, but the variety’s resilience has seen it rebound and flourish.


Mourvèdre is a late-ripening grape that thrives in warm, sun-drenched climates where it can achieve full ripeness. The grape has a tendency towards higher tannin levels and can contribute substantial structure and longevity to the wines it produces. It is often blended with other varieties, such as Grenache and Syrah, to balance its robust characteristics.

Flavour Profile

Mourvèdre wines often possess rich, dark fruit flavours, including blackberry, plum, and black cherry. Savoury notes such as black pepper, licorice, and sometimes game or meaty undertones can be detected. As the wine ages, it may develop complex tertiary notes like leather, tobacco, and earth.

Different Styles of Wine

The style of Mourvèdre can vary depending on the region and winemaking practices. In its Spanish homeland, where it’s known as Monastrell, the wines are often deeply colored, high in alcohol, and full of ripe, dark fruit flavors. In France, particularly in the appellations of Bandol and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Mourvèdre plays a crucial role in blended wines, contributing structure and aging potential. Mourvèdre rosés are also a delight, offering a robust, savoury twist.

Wine Making and Maturation Options

The winemaking decisions for Mourvèdre can greatly influence its style. The use of oak aging can soften the grape’s tannins and add layers of complexity. Often, winemakers choose to blend Mourvèdre with other varieties to balance its tannic structure and enhance its fruit profile. However, when conditions are right, single-varietal Mourvèdre wines can also be produced, showcasing the grape’s unique character in full.

Important Regions

Spain, as the birthplace of Mourvèdre (Monastrell), continues to be a significant region, particularly Jumilla. In France, it is an essential component of many Southern Rhône blends, with Bandol producing prestigious, age-worthy, Mourvèdre-dominant wines. Outside of Europe, Mourvèdre has found success in Australia (where it’s sometimes known as Mataro) and in California, where it’s increasingly appreciated both in blends and as a single-varietal wine.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Mourvèdre’s rich, complex profile and high tannin content make it a wonderful pairing for hearty, rich dishes. Think grilled meats, game, stews, and other robust meat dishes. It also pairs well with hard, aged cheeses, which can stand up to the wine’s structure.

As you explore its various expressions of Mourvèdre, from the sunny vineyards of Spain to the diverse regions of the New World, you’ll discover why this unsung hero is capturing the hearts of wine enthusiasts around the globe.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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