Possibly one of the greatest byproducts of the increase in wine appreciation amongst the general public is that previously obscure and under-appreciated vintages have found a new, enthusiastic audience. Case in point: Spanish Mourvèdre. This intense full bodied tipple is a wonderfully flavourful wine that shares many characteristics with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
While pure Mourvèdre is fairly unknown, the grape itself is a fairly common presence in a number of popular wines like Syrah, rosé and fortified wine like port. The majority of Mourvèdre grapes are grown in Spain; over 150,000 hectares of vineyards are dedicated to this particular vintage. It’s also grown, to a lesser extent, in France, Australia, and the United States.
If you’re a fan of light and zesty reds, make sure you steer clear of Mourvèdre. This red is intense, muscular, and not for the faint of heart. Mourvèdre is one of the darkest reds around. It has a high amount of tannins, medium acidity, and is full-bodied.
The most prominent flavors found in Mourvèdre are of dark fruits, with blueberries, blackberries, and plums being the most prominent. Less overt flavors include black pepper, smoke, gravel, and roses. Mourvèdre is often described as tasting “gamey,” which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your preference. Needless to say, this wine is an acquired taste.
Thanks to its intense—some might say off-putting—aroma, Mourvèdre should be decanted before drinking. This will give the wine an opportunity to breath and soften the aromas.
When drinking intense wines like Mourvèdre, it is best to pair them with flavorful food. Subtle meals will be overwhelmed by the wine, while rich food will help to soften the tannin taste of the drink.
Similar to Syrahs, Mourvèdre pairs well with rich red meats, game, and barbecued food. Short ribs, rabbit, venison, and lamb pair extremely well with this wine. Barbecued meats will also complement the smokey, gamey notes of the wine.
Similarly, rich vegetables work best when paired with Mourvèdre. Barbecued portabella mushrooms and Mourvèdre are a match made in heaven!
Wines to try
As it’s still fairly obscure, it can be difficult to find good bottles of Mourvèdre at a reasonable price. However, they do exist and with a bit of determination it’s possible to find acceptable bottles for as little as $10.
Hewiston Baby Bush Mourvèdre ($16)
This particular bottle is notable for its salty, savoury taste and intense fruitiness.
Koehler Mourvèdre ($49)
This complex wine justifies its price with some beautifully balanced flavors.
Holly’s Hill Classique Mourvèdre ($22)
Earthy and savoury with a notable fruit flavor, this is a well-priced bottle.