Wine varietals and styles


By Halliday Wine Companion

18 Oct, 2023

Mourvèdre [moor-veh-druh] is a red Mediterranean grape that produces high tannin and high alcohol wines. Get to know the grape.

Go to: Mourvèdre tasting characteristics | Origins of mourvèdre | How to pair food with mourvèdre | Serving temperature for mourvèdre | The best Australian mourvèdre regions

Mourvèdre, also called mataro and monastrell, is a red wine grape known for producing wines of robust structure and intense fruit characters. So much so, it’s mostly used as a blending grape (you may recognise it as the ‘M’ in GSM alongside grenache and shiraz) and as a component in rosé

Pronounced ‘moor-veh-druh’, this Mediterranean grape makes high tannin, high alcohol wines with excellent ageing potential. 

Vineyard with close up of mourvèdre sign

Mourvèdre tasting characteristics

Mourvèdre wines are not shy – expect trademark meaty, spicy and herbaceous notes to the fore (black pepper, clove, allspice and thyme) backed by dark fruit characters of blackberry, black cherry and plum for richness and depth. As the wines age, chocolate and leather notes can develop. Mourvèdre wines have strong ageing potential as they are high in tannins and have excellent acid structure.

Origins of mourvèdre

Mourvèdre is believed to have originated in Spain, but it is more often associated with Provence in France, particularly in the wines of Bandol where it’s blended with grenache and cinsault. Mourvèdre is also a major player in the famous red blends of the Southern Rhône, particularly in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. 

Mourvèdre pairs perfectly with hard cheeses.

How to pair food with mourvèdre

The bold flavours and spicy notes of mourvèdre-based wines are a great match for chargrilled and roasted meats, particularly low-and-slow barbecue. Mourvèdre wines call for rich flavours to stand up to the tannins and to complement its earthy profile.

Serving temperature for mourvèdre

Older mourvèdre-based reds may benefit from decanting prior to serving. The wine's temperature should be between 15–20 degrees and large serving vessels are preferred. Something like RIEDEL's Old World Syrah wine glasses would do the trick. 

The best Australian mourvèdre regions

Like many classic red varieties, mourvèdre came to Australia in the early days of colonisation. It took off in South Australia, and in particular the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, where the late-ripening grape gets the sunshine hours it needs to ripen.

Just as in Europe, most of our mourvèdre is used in combination with shiraz and grenache. Icon examples include Charles Melton’s Nine Popes and Penfolds Old Vine Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre, while Yangarra Estate and Dandelion offer more modern interpretations. 

A few brave souls have successfully made it as a single varietal. Kay Brothers’ single-vineyard Basket Pressed Mataro is savoury and dry with scents of grilled meats and dried tobacco; Cirillo’s Single Vineyard Marato will go the distance in the cellar, with gorgeous depth and structure.

Image credit: Wine Australia.