A native of Spain, where it's called Monastrell, Mourvèdre is best known for its blending role in the Southern Rhone. Strong and rustic, Mourvèdre is the cowboy style blender in the Rhone mix. It's also the "M" of GSM (or SGM) blends in Australia, and it's used as the primary grape in wines from Jumilla and other Southeast areas of Spain.
Notable Facts The desirable aspects of Mourvèdre as a blending grape are good color (from thick skins), high acid and high tannins. These attributes offset the lighter color, lower acid and lower tannins of its Rhone (and sometimes Australian & Spanish) partner, Grenache. The grape likes warmer climates, but has tight bunches so benefits from the cool winds commonly found in areas where it grows best. Spicy and gamey are typical terms related to Mourvèdre. It's not as often bottled as a single variety, but parts of Spain and California are successfully doing just that - the results are delicious.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Southern Rhone, Spain, Australia, California
Common Descriptors: Meaty, rustic, blackberry, leather, herbs, spice
Learn More About Provence, France
Not just a destination for tourists and movie stars, Provence makes some delicious and easy-drinking wines. Most of these wines are rosé – a dry, pale, pink style rose. The climate here is Mediterranean, with most of the vines planted on southern facing slopes to avoid the fierce Mistral winds. Thirteen varieties are permitted in the region, the most important for rose being Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault. A move is being made to bring in more varieties, like Syrah, to increase the quality of the wines.
The most important appellation is Côtes de Provence, where about 80% of the production is the typical style rose. Unfortunately, the easy-drinking aspect does not translate to the price – some of these wines are a bit pricey for drink-today wines. Some producers are making a shift to higher quality while others are selling their wines at a bargain. Either way, Côtes de Provence rose is a delicious match with any provence-style garlic-y cuisine. Other appellations to note include Bandol, Bellet, Les Baux-de-Provence, Cassis and Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. Though Côtes de Provence rules in amount of wine produced, the quality appellation to know is Bandol. Mostly red and mostly Mourvedre, the wines of Bandol are able to age a few years, like many a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but also enjoyed in their youth.