Mourvèdre is a small, thick-skinned, late-ripening grape that originated in Spain (where it’s called Monastrell) but later became better known as a main staple in French winemaking. In the 1880’s this varietal was hit hard and almost completely wiped out in Spain by phylloxera and a main reason why there was a shifted focus to growing more Tempranillo in Spain.
This varietal thrives in high heat and adapted to the weather in the southern part of the Rhône Valley and Provence in France where it is most popularly grown. Due to its thick skin, it can produce some bold tanin flavors and why it is primarily used as a blending grape. In the Rhône Valley where it is commonly grown, it is used in a lot of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines and is the 3rd most popular grape in this appellation. As a blend, it is most commonly used with Grenache and Syrah as well as Cinsault and Carignan. When this grape is used in a blend, it adds tannin as well as flavor profiles of olives, pepper, cassis, spice and herbiness.
Although this varietal is mostly used for blending, winemakers have been recently experimenting with making 100% Mourvèdre and the trend has been growing with California winemakers. The varietal is being grown and cultivated so the tanins are softer than those of the Mediterranean cousin and made in a lighter style (reminiscent of Beaujolais) that is more palpable to the consumer.
You can try this wonderful little grape in a number of our high-end wine clubs! Try looking at our Platinum Wine Club, or Garagiste Wine Club for the most recent Mourvèdre wines available.
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