Grape Varieties M-N Mourvedre (Monastrell)

Mourvedre (Monastrell) Wine

Mourvedre (Monastrell in its native Spain, Mataro in Australia and California) is a black-skinned variety that has been grown in vineyards all around the western Mediterranean for centuries. Thought to have originated in Spain, it is now grown extensively throughout the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, California and South Australia.

Mourvedre likes warm, dry climates and has small, thick-skinned berries – the textbook combination for making wines with intense color and high tannin levels. In fact, it is the variety's mouth-drying tannins that earned it the French nickname Etrangle-Chien (the dog strangler).

Mourvedre (Monastrell) Grapes
(? Christophe Grilhe)

Mourvedre's meaty, herby aromas are very distinctive, as are its strong tannins. These qualities make it a potent ingredient for blending, most often with vibrant, rich Grenache and structured, spicy Syrah (see Grenache – Mourvedre – Syrah). Other classic southern French varieties such as Carignan and Cinsaut are also frequent blending partners for Mourvedre, more because of tradition and convenience (they grow in similar places and ripen almost simultaneously) than flavor or aroma.

Single-variety Mourvedre or Monastrell wines are not particularly common, but as the curiosity of the average wine consumer increases, so more and more producers are experimenting with making wines from 100 percent Mourvedre.

In France, Mourvedre is a key variety in both Provence and the southern Rhone Valley, where it is a regular compenent in Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape blends.

The variety was hit very hard by the phylloxera epidemic of the 1880s, to the extent that it was largely eradicated from some vineyard areas. Its notable strongholds during this time were around Bandol, which has sandy soils that phylloxera cannot survive in (it prefers heavier soil types, particularly clays). Today, Mourvedre vines still line the coastal hillsides of Bandol, and the variety constitutes at least one half of the region's tannic, meaty red wines and its gently spicy rosés – some of the finest in the world.

In Spain, modern viticultural fashions have shifted the focus towards Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, though Monastrell is regaining some of its former importance. At one time it was the second most planted red wine variety in Spain (behind Garnacha). Spanish Monastrell wines tend to be rich, dark affairs, frequently showing flavors of blackberry and black cherry.

In Australia and California, Mourvedre is often called Mataro, although the prestige associated with its French name has encouraged many producers to abandon the term Mataro. Australian and Californian examples of the variety are typically richer and more fruit-driven than those produced around the Mediterranean.

Growing Mourvedre 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 Mourvedre 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), Mourvedre is deliberately planted on warmer, south-facing slopes to speed up the ripening process, while Syrah and Grenache are planted on cooler, north-facing slopes.

Synonyms include: Monastrell, Mataro, Esparte, Etrangle-Chien.

Food matches for Mourvedre include:

  • Braised ox-tail stew
  • Milk-fed veal with baba ghanoush
  • Baked eggplants stuffed with lamb mince

Production by region Expand/collapse

Most Popular Mourvedre (Monastrell) Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Region
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Bodegas El Nido 'Clio', Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 685th 92 $48
Bodegas Juan Gil 18 Meses Blue Label Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 2,041st 91 $32
Bodegas Juan Gil 12 Meses Silver Label Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 2,192nd 91 $14
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge Cuvee Cabassaou, Provence, France Bandol 2,575th 93 $140
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol, Provence, France Bandol 4,051st 90 $42
Casa Castillo Monastrell Pie Franco, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 4,051st 94 $76
Bodegas Juan Gil 4 Meses Yellow Label Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 4,840th 88 $14
Casa Rojo MMM Macho Man Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 4,861st 88 $25
Bodegas Volver 'Tarima Hill' Old Vines Monastrell, Alicante, Spain Alicante 4,861st 90 $15
Bodegas Castano Hecula Monastrell, Yecla, Spain Yecla 6,045th 88 $11
Hewitson Old Garden Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, Australia Barossa Valley 7,625th 92 $66
Bodegas Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas, Yecla, Spain Yecla 7,994th 89 $15
Bodegas Volver Triga, Alicante, Spain Alicante 8,262nd 91 $39
Bodegas La Purisima 'Consentido' Monastrell Barrica, Spain Spain 8,658th 89 $10
Finca Bacara 'Time Waits for No One', Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 9,035th 87 $14
Bodegas Volver 'Tarima' Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 9,414th 88 $10
Bodegas Enrique Mendoza 'La Tremenda' Monastrell, Alicante, Spain Alicante 10,546th 90 $12
Bodegas Ego Goru Verde - Goru Organic, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 10,938th 88 $11
Bedrock Wine Co. 'Ode to Lulu' Rose of Mourvedre, Sonoma Valley, USA Sonoma Valley 11,255th 90 $24
Bodegas Los Frailes '1771' Monastrell, Valencia, Spain Valencia 12,085th 91 $25
Casa Castillo Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 12,333rd 89 $14
Andremily Wines Mourvedre, Santa Barbara County, USA Santa Barbara County 13,093rd 94 $187
Bodegas San Isidro Carta Roja Gran Reserva Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Jumilla 13,639th 88 $10
Bodegas Bocopa Don Mantillon Monastrell, Alicante, Spain Alicante 13,804th $8
Hewitson Baby Bush Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, Australia Barossa Valley 14,054th 90 $21
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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