Deep Red Mourvèdre

Hard to pronounce (it’s more-VED), but easy to drink, mourvèdre has become a favorite of Texas winemakers. Originally from the Catalonia region of Spain, where it is called monastrell, the grape produces deep, spicy red wines and is used as a blending grape in rosé cava. In the Bandol region of France, winemakers use mourvèdre, which can age for decades, to create intense reds as well as light, Provençal rosés.

Mourvèdre might be best known as a blending grape in the Southern Rhône Valley of France. Serving as the “M” in a GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvèdre) blend like a Côtes du Rhône or the prized Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the dark, tannic grape adds structure and a depth of color to the blend.

Texas winemakers are drawn to mourvèdre for its versatility and diversity. This varietal needs an abundance of sun and heat, making it well suited for the state’s vineyards. “Mourvèdre grows fantastically well in Texas, both in the Hill Country and the High Plains,” says winemaker Chris Brundrett of William Chris Vineyards. “2013 and 2014 were two of the most dismal years in Texas wine history, but we had great crops of mourvèdre both years. We realized that if we wanted to make wine every year we needed to grow mourvèdre extensively and figure out how to make it taste really good.”

William Chris Vineyards now yields 40 percent of their production from mourvèdre, producing eight single vineyard mourvèdre wines and using it as a blending grape in their red Skeleton Key and Artist Blend, and in their rosé.

The wines have quickly become customer favorites, in part because Texas mourvèdre develops differently than its European cousins. While the intensity of mourvèdre from Bandol or Spain can be intimidating for some wine drinkers, Texas mourvèdre is smoother on the palate. Instead of heavy blackberry and jam notes, a Texas mourvèdre has more red fruit, like red plum and cranberry mixed with the leather and spice aromas, and it doesn’t typically need to be decanted or aged for a long period to round out the rough edges.

“Texas mourvèdre is a little more approachable than [in] Bandol,” says Brundrett. “It’s not light — there is so much depth and character — but it expresses where it is from. We make mourvèdre wine from five different vineyards within 25 miles of each other, and they are night and day different from each other.”

Mourvèdre pairs perfectly with grilled game or red meats. Brundrett suggests that there is no better pairing than a cabrito taco and mourvèdre.

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Fast Facts About Mourvèdre

Other names for mourvèdre: monastrell (Spain), mataró (Australia and California)

Styles:
   ◦ Full-bodied red wine
   ◦ Red blends
   ◦ Still rosé
   ◦ Sparkling rosé

Profile for red wine:
    ◦ Full-bodied
    ◦ High tannin
    ◦ Medium-high acidity
    ◦ Medium-high alcohol

Where to Find Texas Mourvèdre

Armadillo's Leap Winery Texas Mourvèdre, OMG Blend
Becker Vineyards Culinaria Red Blend, Prairie Rotie Red
Blend, Saigné Rosé
Bending Branch Winery Mourvèdre, Branch Texas Red Blend
Brennan Vineyards Dry Rosé
C.L. Butaud Dry Rosé
Fall Creek Vineyards ExTerra Mourvèdre,
Salt Lick Vineyards GSM Blend
Kuhlman Cellars TX Alluve Red Blend, Barranca Red Blend
Lewis Wines Lost Draw Mourvèdre, Syrah/Mourvèdre
Blend, High Plains Red Blend, High Plains
Rosé, Hill Country Rosé
Llano Estacado Winery Mataro, Raider Syrah/Mourvèdre Blend
Lost Draw Cellars Mourvèdre
Messina Hof Artist Series Mourvèdre, GSM
Pedernales Cellars Newsom Vineyards North Block Blend,
Texas GSM, Texas Family Reserve,
Texas Dry Rosé
Rancho Loma Vineyards Valera Reserve Blend
Ron Yates Wines Bingham Family Vineyards Mourvèdre
Southold Farm + Cellar All The Good Things You Keep Inside
Spicewood Vineyards Texas High Plains Mourvèdre
William Chris Vineyards 8 Single Vineyard Mourvèdre, Skeleton Key
Blend, Artist Blend, Dry Rosé,
Pétillant Naturel Rosé

 

By Kristi Willis • Photography by Jenna Northcutt and Kelsey Knight