A grape that thrives in warm, dry climates, Mourvedre is thought to hail from Spain where it is known as Monastrell, whereas in Australia and California it's known as Mataro. Mourvedre grapes tend to be small and thick-skinned, with meaty and herby aromas that make it the perfect blending partner in Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre (GSM) blends. Bold and smoky, Mourvedre delivers notes of blackberry, cocoa, black pepper, tobacco, and roasted meats. It pairs fantastically with barbecue meats, braised oxtail, and roasted eggplant.
In the 1880s the phylloxera epidemic hit Mourvedre very hard. Sap-sucking insects fed on the roots of grapevines, destroying them, and eradicated a large amount of Mourvedre from vineyards in Europe. Mourvedre persisted to grow in places like Bandol, France, where phylloxera couldn’t survive due to the sandy soils. Although Mourvedre is regaining some of its significance, at one point being the second most planted red wine grape in Spain, they’ve focused most of their efforts on Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis