Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Mourvedre is one of the grapes used in the southern Rhone Valley, usually blended with Grenache, and Syrah. Though a small percentage of the blend, historically, the Mourvedre imparts much of the color to the wines of the southern Rhone. On it's own, Mourvedre, or Monastrell in Spain is dark purple colored and creates dark tannic wines with plummy flavor. In Cataluña and Valencia, Spain the wines are very dry, with a peppery characteristic showcased brilliantly, and the grape may be called Mataro. The wines are really fun with flavorful meats. Spanish Monastrell, despite current importing expenses can still be very reasonably priced.
I have noticed the grape being produced in a single varietal wine in California and in Washington in the last several years, too. This makes me very happy, as I love to have the opportunity to show these big blend varieties in their separate varietal component styles. Here they tend to have deeper fruit, even more full body, and high alcohol content. They are chewy and delicious, but not introductory red wines. Bold, tannic, and dry they may not appeal to a beginner in red wine appreciation. I frequently say when pairing, that if you are grappling with a bear, tear a bite from it's flesh, then wash it down with 100% Mourvedre, but not everyone can relate to that unique experience. Domestic Mourvedre doesn't have the recognition that some of our other grapes do, so it can be a relatively inexpensive exercise to taste your way through the grape.
The Aussies, who also call the grape Mataro, have been producing it as a single varietal style for many years. In Australia, it is full bodied, jammy fruit forward, with a spicy backbone. It is meant for consumption with mouthwatering meats, as an opportunity to offset it's aggressive tannic structure. You can also find it from many south Australia producers as the "M" in a GSM blend.