What You Should Know About Mourvèdre/ Monastrell

Mourvèdre is a black grape variety that goes by many names- it is known as Monastrell in Spain and Mataro in Australia and California. Mourvèdre has been grown in vineyards around the western Mediterranean region for centuries. Believed to have originated in Spain, it is now grown extensively throughout the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, California and South Australia.

Mourvèdre likes warm, dry climates and has small, thick-skinned berries – a good combination for making wines with intense colour and high tannin levels. The wine grape variety is usually blended with other popular varieties growing in the same region.


Mourvèdre produces a rustic red wine that has an intense colour, high tannins, medium acidity and medium to high alcohol. The wine is bursting with flavours of black fruits like plum, blueberry and blackberry. But what sets it apart is its distinct meaty and herby (thyme and black pepper) notes. The wine can age for a long time in oak which softens the tannins and gives it tertiary notes of leather and tobacco.

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Mourvèdre’s meaty, herby aromas are very distinctive, as are its strong tannins. These qualities make it a desirable ingredient for blending, most often with vibrant and rich Grenache and structured and spicy Syrah. Other classic southern French varieties such as Carignan and Cinsaut are also frequent blending partners for Mourvèdre, more because of tradition and convenience as they grow in similar places and ripen almost simultaneously.


Growing this variety is not recommended for vignerons without a great deal of patience. The vines take several years before they begin to produce fruit of any quality – sometimes five years can pass before a Mourvèdre vine yields its first harvest. The variety is also a late ripener, one of the very last to be picked.

In the coastal hills of Provence (particularly around Bandol), Mourvèdre is deliberately planted on warmer, south-facing slopes to speed up the ripening process. Syrah and Grenache are planted on cooler, north-facing slopes.

Single-variety Mourvèdre or Monastrell wines are not particularly common, but as the curiosity grows, more producers are experimenting with making wines from 100 percent Mourvèdre.


Mourvèdre is a key variety in both Provence and the southern Rhône Valley, where it is used in Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape blends. A typical red wine from Côtes du Rhône is a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre) blend that also contains Cinsault and Carignan. It is a full-bodied, easy-drinking wine with black fruit flavours like black currant and plum, and spice. The wine is high tannins along with a long finish.

The red blends from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation are predominantly Grenache-based, with a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. The wine has fruit flavours of blackberry, blueberry and plum, along with red fruits like raspberry and spices like cinnamon.

In the late 19th century, the grape variety had to struggle against the threat of eradication at the hands of phylloxera infestation. However, the infestation failed to affect the vines in the Bandol region due to its hostile sandy soils. Bandol still produces some of the finest expressions of Mourvèdre, which are packed with tannins and meaty flavours.

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At one time Monastrell was the second most planted red wine variety in Spain (after Grenache). But winemakers shifted their focus to other reds like Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon as they started gaining popularity. However, the grape’s star seems to be on the rise again. Spanish Monastrell wines tend to be rich, dark and intense, with black fruit flavours of blackberry and black cherry.

Other important regions

Mourvèdre is often called Mataro in Australia and California. The expressions from these wine regions are typically richer and more fruit-forward than those produced around the Mediterranean.


Serving temperature – 15 to 18 degrees Celsius

Glass type – A standard red wine glass

Decanting- Decanting time for Mourvèdre is 60 minutes

Food Pairing

Like all bold red wines with high tannins, Mourvèdre goes well with rich foods that keep your mouth from drying up. So red meats should be your first pick. A greasy barbecue like pork shoulder, short ribs, or venison will pair well with the wine. It also complements lamb, veal and pork sausage very well.

For vegetarians, the wine goes well with lentils, so have it with a hearty bowl of daal chawal. The wine also goes well with the earthy flavours of a mushroom. Just crush some black pepper or dress your mushrooms in soy sauce to take the pairing to the next level.

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