Mourvèdre Grape Variety

Mourvèdre is variety of wine grape used to make both strong, dark red wines and roses. It is an international variety grown in many regions around the world.

Mourvèdre produces tannic wines that can be high in alcohol, and is most successful in Rhone-style blends. It has a particular affinity for Grenache, softening it and giving it structure. Its taste varies greatly according to area, but often has a wild, gamey or earthy flavour, with soft red fruit flavours.[1]

Wine description full-bodied with a strong berry taste and a lot of spice
Food pairing meat based stews, Provencal vegetable dishes.roast lamb
Origin Mediterranean coast of Spain
Notable regions France, Spain, Australia, California
Notable wines
Domaine Tempier, Bandol, Hewitson Old Garden Mourvedre (Australia)


The variety was probably introduced to Catalonia by the Phoenicians in around 500 BC. The name Mourvèdre comes from Murviedro (Morvedre in Catalan, nowadays Sagunt) near Valencia and the name Mataró comes from Mataró, Cataluña. It arrived in France sometime after the 16th century, and spread eastwards towards the Rhone. It arrived in California in the 1860's as part of the Pellier collection.[2] It was hit hard by the phylloxera epidemic, but has been increasing in popularity of late. Considerable confusion has resulted from Internet reports that DNA fingerprinting had confirmed that Monastrell was not the same grape as Mourvèdre. These reports were the result of the misreading of a UC Davis analysis that a particular sample had been misidentified 

Distribution and wines


There are around 12 square kilometres of Mourvedre in Australia, with the most significant plantings in South Australia and New South Wales. It is usually found in Rhone-style GSM blends of GrenacheShiraz, Mourvedre. It has also found its way into Australian fortified wines.[3]


Mourvedre (sometimes known as Balzac) is widespread across the Mediterranean coast of southern France, where it is a notable component of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It was once the most popular grape in Provence, but is now much less common there. One exception is Bandol on the Mediterranean coast of Provence, where Mourvedre has found a natural home, producing powerful red wines in the style of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It is sometimes used to produce a fortified red wine in Languedoc-Roussillon.


Until recently it was assumed that Spain's Monastrell grape was identical to Mourvedre, so data on Mourvedre as opposed to Monastrell is patchy. But it is likely that it is mostly on the Mediterranean coast in regions such as Alicante and Jumilla.


There are 8 square kilometres of Mourvedre in California. The variety was one of the first to be used in Southern California, the original wine center of the state. Some vineyards near Ontario, California, date back to the turn of the 20th century. Mourvedre varietals are made in the Cucamonga Valley, near Lodi and in Santa Rosa. It is produced and bottled by boutique vineyards and wineries found in Vallecito and Murphys in Calaveras County, located in the Sierra Foothills of California. It is also grown on Red Mountain and in Horse Heaven Hills, in Washington State, and bottled by several wineries. Some of the best comes from Paso Robles in the heart of the Rhone growing region

Vine and viticulture

Mourvedre is very late to ripen. Ripening is helped by proximity to a large body of water such as the Mediterranean Sea. The leaves have 3-5 lobes, the bunches are long, conical and winged. The berries are medium-sized and blue-black in colour, with thick skins.


  1. Robinson, Jancis Vines, Grapes & Wines Mitchell Beazley 1986 
  2. Integrated Viticulture Online s.v. Mourvedre, University of California.
  3. Radden, Rosemary. "Grapes and Wines of the World". The State Library of South Australia, GPO Box 419, Adelaide SA 5001. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
  4. Maul, E.; Eibach, R. (1999-06-00). "Vitis International Variety Catalogue". Information and Coordination Centre for Biological Diversity (IBV) of the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE), Deichmanns Aue 29, 53179 Bonn, Germany.


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