Mourvedre: Californias warm climate is conducive to this rich, velvety wine |

Mourvedre: Californias warm climate is conducive to this rich, velvety wine

Photo by Timm EubanksThe 2006 Ancient Vines Mourvdre draws from some of our oldest, most historic and shyest-bearing vineyard blocks. These blocks perpetually produce fruit that is of stunning concentration. We are able to reach this concentration as a result of sensitive farming practices, the singular Oakley terroir, and a unique cooling band of air that flows in from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers. Cline Vineyards.

Last weeks column discussed two of the three grapes used in some of the tastier blends, known as GSM blends, Grenache and Syrah. This week we will find out a little more about the lesser-known alternative red grape, Mourvedre (Moo-Vehd).The Mourvedre is a late-ripening grape, which prefers warm climates in order to reach full flavorful maturity. The grapes themselves are small, and sweet with dark, thick skin. These grapes produce wines that are medium bodied, deep dark red in color, full of cherry, dark berry, with earthy or somewhat gamey flavors, firm tannins and high in alcohol.The major growing regions are France, Spain, California, the Red Mountain region in Washington state and Australia. It is used in the Rhone valley to produce Chateauneuf-Du-Pape and Cotes du Rhone wines, which can be produced from 23 different grape varieties. The most common blend used to make these wines are Syrah and Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault or Carignan are often added.It is the second most planted grape, after Grenache, in Spain, with more than 250,000 acres planted with the Monastrell grape, as it is named there. In the New World regions and Portugal, it is also known as Mataro.In California, the vine, then known as Mataro, had been growing since the 1870s. It had become increasingly unpopular with winemakers until the Rhone Rangers realized Mataro and Mourvedre was one and the same grape. The demand increased in the 1990s for Rhone-style blends. New plantings took place in warm Contra Costa County and in the Central Valley. There are still vineyards of Mourvedre located in southern California, dating from the turn of the 19th and 20th century. Today, there are about 400 acres planted in the warmer wine regions of California.In Australia it is widely used to produce the popular Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, GSM, wines.Mourvedre is a perfect partner to Grenache, adding structure to the wine, and to Syrah, to which it adds a fleshier essence.Mourvedre wines are dry and pair well with barbecued meats, fish and chicken or a roasted leg of lamb. It goes well with venison or duck with cranberry or pepper sauces and is a great choice with meat or root vegetable stew. Perhaps even a Portobello mushroom burger.The structured balance of this wine makes it very age-able, with the flavors turning earthier over the years. A well made Mourvedre can age 10-15 years.Finding a single varietal Mourvedre wine will take some investigating, but there are many out there. The popular Rhone style blends are more easily located, but the quest for a single varietal wine will be worth your effort. Especially this time of year when we tend to enjoy heartier foods and stews.

Aromas of plums, spice, and roasted meat. This wine is juicy, with a full mouth feel, and flavors of chocolate, coffee, currants and dark plums. There is a distinct mineral finish, with hints of leather.

The aromas and flavors of dried plums, cassis, cloves, coffee, and black pepper, with a long lingering finish awaits you when you open this very distinctive Mourvedre from Washington.

Flavors and aromas of cherry and mint help make this delicious wine an unusual delight with a chocolate character and soft tannins. Janice Jones is a Truckee resident and wine consultant. You may reach her at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Peter Andrew Albert: McClintock stuck in the past


I just read Tom McClintock’s piece about inflation, and I can’t imagine he lives in the same world as I do. In his mind, sustainable (“green”) energy that offsets climate change is “bad policy.” He…

See more