Mourvèdre, is a variety of red wine grape grown around the world. In Portugal and the New World it is known as Mataró, whilst in some parts of France it is known as Estrangle-Chien ("dog strangler"). In Spain it is known as Monastrell.
It produces tannic wines that can be high in alcohol, and is most successful in Rhone-style blends. It has a particular affinity for Grenache, softening it and giving it structure. Its taste varies greatly according to area, but often has a wild, gamey or earthy flavour, with soft red fruit flavours.
Considerable confusion has resulted for internet reports that DNA fingerprinting had confirmed that Monastrell was not the same grape as Mourvedre. These reports were the result of the mis-reading of a UC Davis analysis that a particular sample they had, had been misidentified.
The names Mataró
probably come from the towns of Mataró
, suggesting an origin on that coast. Though the origin of the grape may be Catalonian
or Spanish, the name Mourvèdre
is of French derivation, and hence pronounced "MOO-vahd" or "MOOr-vahd". In the US, it is sometimes referred to with an Anglicised pronunciation of "moor-VEY-druh". The grape was recognised in the 16th century, and spread eastwards towards the Rhone. It was hit hard by the phylloxera
epidemic, but has been increasing in popularity of late.
Distribution and wines
There are around 12 square kilometres in Australia, with the most significant plantings in South Australia and in New South Wales
. It is usually found in Rhone
-style blends, notably the GSM mixture - Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvèdre. It has also found its way into Australian 'port' fortified wines.
Mourvèdre (sometimes known as Balzac) is widespread across the Mediterranean coast of southern France, where it is a notable component of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
. It was once the most popular grape in Provence
, but is now much less common there. One exception is Bandol
on the Mediterranean
coast of Provence, where Mourvèdre has found a natural home, producing powerful red wines in the style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is sometimes used to produce a fortified red wine in Languedoc-Roussillon.
Until recently it was assumed that Spain's Monastrell grape was identical to Mourvèdre, so data on Mourvèdre as opposed to Monastrell is patchy. But it is likely that it is mostly on the Mediterranean coast in regions such as Jumilla
There are 8 square kilometres of Mourvèdre in California
. The variety was one of the first to be used in Southern California, the original wine center of the state. Some vineyards near Ontario, California
, date back to the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, and one winery (Fillipi) in the Cucamonga Valley
, still produces a Mourvèdre-labeled offering.
Also, grown on Red Mountain, in Washington State and bottled by several wineries.
Vine and viticulture
Mourvèdre is very late to ripen, ripening is helped by proximity to a large body of water such as the Mediterranean Sea
. The leaves have 3–5 lobes, the bunches are long, conical and winged. The berries are medium-sized and blue-black in colour, with thick skins.
Alcallata, Alcayata, Alicante, Arach Sap, Balzac, Balzar, Benadu, Beneda, Beni Carlo, Berardi, Bod, Bon Avis, Buona Vise, Casca, Catalan, Cayata, Caymilari Sarda, Charnet, Churret, Damas Noir, Drug, English Colossal, Espagnen, Espar, Esparte, Estrangle-chien, Flouron, Flouroux, Garrut, Gayata Tinta, Karis, Maneschaou, Marseillais, Mataro, Maurostel, Mechin, Monastre, Monastrell Menudo, Monastrell Verdadero, Mourvedre, Mourvegue, Mourves, Murvedr Espar, Negralejo, Negria, Neyron, Pinot Fleri, Plant De Ledenon, Plant De Saint Gilles, Reina, Ros, Rossola Nera, Spar, Tintilla, Tire Droit, Torrentes, Trinchiera, Valcarcelia, Verema, Veremeta, Vereneta