A staple of the Mediterranean, the Mourvèdre grape was probably brought Spain by the Phoenicians. It needs a warm, dry climate which is why it thrived in southern France and Spain as well as in parts of Algeria and Tunisia. It was introduced into the United States by the Pellier brothers who brought cuttings of the grape they called 'Mataro' to the Santa Clara Valley in the 1860s. There are now plantings in California, Washington, Arizona, Missouri and Virginia. Other New World growing areas include Australia and South Africa.
Mourvèdre is used to make both red and rosé wines in the New World and the old. The berries are small and thick skinned which gives the wines a deep rich color and a strong tannic structure. Often found in blends like, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Mourvèdre is often the back bone of the wine, but can also be found in silky, single varietal bottles as well. The flavors are deep and rich.
Mourvèdre pairs well with strong, earth flavors. Grilled or roasted meats, particularly game would be delightful but can be enjoyed with root vegetables and mushrooms too.