Originating in Spain, Mourvedre wine comes from a grape that requires a hot climate. It ripens late in the season, which is why it is perfect for areas that are prone to frost late in the spring. It has a very thick skin, which makes it resistant to rot and disease.
The lateness of the ripening process, however, can leave it susceptible to cold temperatures of an early winter. It also does well in windy areas where other varieties of grapes cannot thrive. The grapes grow in tight bunches on the vine, which means that they need good ventilation during the growing period.
Other than that, this variety of grape does not need a lot of care while it is on the vine. The vines are vertical making it easy to head prune them to give the ripening grapes the benefit of more exposure to the sun.
Mourvedre grapes are very challenging grapes to grow because of the variation in the yield they produce. One year may give a very good yield and the next year the crop of grapes may not be as good.
Most grapes that are grown commercially usually produce their first yield in the first three to five years, but this grape could take as long as ten years before any grapes grow on the vine. They do need to have lots of water, but at the same time a very humid climate could be harmful to them.
Mourvedre is most often used as a blend with other wines because on its own it doesn't have very much taste. The unblended wines have deep color and have high tannic levels. They have medium alcohol content and when young, have an earthy and spicy aroma.
The wine is aged in heavy oak barrels which add a taste or sweet wood and the aroma of tar and toast. The wines produced from the Mourvedre grapes are known as Mataro wines in California and Australia.
One of the wines with which it is quite often blended is Grenache because it tends to soften this wine and add to its body.
Wines made from the Mourvedre grape have a deep color and earthy aromas, such as leather, truffles and wild game. Sometimes these flavors are so strong that one may think the wine is actually sour.
The wine is well suited to aging and in a well made wine these strong aromas will soften with age. When Grenache is added, the fruity aromas tend to lessen the earthy scents.
The Mourvedre wines are also known by other names in different parts of the world, similar to how Shiraz often is referred to in various different names and pronunciations.
In Portugal and North America, this wine is called Mataro, while in Spain it goes under the name of Monastrell. This is very helpful when you order wines online.
There are numerous sites where you can buy a bottle or case - whatever your needs are at the time. According to wine connoisseurs, one of the best such wines on the market is that of Juan Gil, which is made from 100% Mourvedre grapes.
When unopened, this wine will age in the bottle and last for three to five years. It is well matched with meat and vegetable dishes, because the wine accentuates the earthy flavors.
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in international travel, cuisine, and fine wines, such as Shiraz and Mourvedre. For a wide selection of quality varietals, please visit http://www.wineaccess.com/ .