Diversity is the spice of life. Without it, our day to day activities would be downright monotonous, painstaking if you will. This can translate to any aspect of our lives ranging from the foods we eat, to the clothing we wear, and of course the beverages we enjoy. Wine has got to be one of the most complex and diverse beverages out there, and within the wine world several grapes can be even more diverse. After some motivating discussion at the 2017 Texas Wine Revolution VIP panel tasting, Mourvèdre has been on my brain. Let’s delve into this grape variety and discuss what makes it both unique and diverse.
Mourvèdre, AKA Monastrell, or Mataró, is originally thought to be of Spanish descent. Pronounced (More Ved, or More Ved Druh), it is planted across the globe with concentrated plantings in Spain, southern France, south Australia, south Africa, California, Washington, and of course Texas. It is a grape of great power, typically producing wines with high tannins and acidity. The color can be dark, while the flavors are usually reminiscent of dark berries with earthy, gamey tones. Versus grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, Mourvèdre goes by many nicknames depending on the region in which it is grown. It can be made into many different styles of wine.
Being a red berry, naturally Mourvèdre is commonly made into red wine. As described above, wines of power with well structured tannins, deep color, and earthy, gamey notes are common. Having high tannins and acidity makes it a great choice for aging in the cellar for long periods of time. The term GSM (Grenache–Syrah–Mourvèdre) would not be complete without Mourvèdre, and we definitely see many of these types of blends in Texas.
This grape is very popularly produced as rosé wine, as can be seen on any wine shelf containing the stunning rosé wines of Provence, France. The Texas Wine Revolution VIP panel was discussing in detail the diversity of the grape and how fantastic the rosé wines can be when made with Mourvèdre. I don’t find them to be quite as delicate as rosé wines made from Cinsaut, rather more rich/textural wines with a more meaty, or gamey distinction.
You will also find port-style fortified wines made from Mourvèdre as well, although I don’t believe these wines to be nearly as common as the still reds and rosé.
Mourvèdre in Texas:
It is very heat tolerant, and needs to be well irrigated to produce its best fruit. I read a fun quote somewhere that Mourvèdre “likes its face in the sun, and its feet in the water.” Wow doesn’t that sound like what everyone wants during the summer months? No wonder it grows so well in the great state of Texas! With our harsh soils, altitude variation, and controlled irrigation practices, you can see why we can grow the heck out of this thick-skinned grape all over state. Andy Timmons of Lost Draw Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars commented it is the only grape that has been profitable for him every year. That is saying something considering our unpredictable weather patterns, which contribute to huge swings of variation from one vintage to the next.
In conclusion, Mourvèdre is indeed un amigo of Texas, a good friend for the long haul I think. Be sure to ask for Mourvèdre next time you visit your favorite tasting room or restaurant; they can be quite delightful to drink. Also, stay tuned in the coming months for Texas Wine Lover’s “Battle of the Texas Mourvèdres.” Several Texas wineries will be participating, and I have a feeling it is going to be quite interesting to see who comes out on top!
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.