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Monastrell

Read about Monastrell

These are all the same grape - Mourvedre, Monastrell in its native Spain and Mataro here in Australia and in California. It is a black-skinned grape that has been grown in vineyards around the western Mediterranean for centuries. Thought to have originated in Spain, it is now grown extensively throughout the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, California and South Australia.

Mourvedre grows best in warm, dry climates and has small, thick-skinned berries – the textbook combination for making wines with intense colour and high tannins levels. In fact, it is the variety's mouth-drying tannins that earned it the French nickname Etrangle-Chien (the dog strangler). Teusner indeed has a wine called 'The Dog Strangler'.

Mourvedre's meaty, herby aromas are very distinctive, as are its strong tannins. These qualities make it a potent ingredient for blending, most often with vibrant, rich Grenache and structured, spicy Syrah. Other classic southern French varieties such as Carignan and Cinsault are also frequent blending partners for Mourvedre, more because of tradition and convenience (they grow in similar places and ripen almost simultaneously) than flavour or aroma.

Single-variety Mourvedre/Monastrell/Mataro wines are increasingly common as the curiosity of wine consumers increases, so more and more producers are experimenting with making wines from 100 percent Mourvedre.