Monastrell Wine: What Is It?

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What is Monastrell wine?

Monastrell is the native name of this wine, and it’s known as Mourvèdre in France. The grape of this wine has black skin and it has been growing in the western Mediterranean from ancient days. It was first considered that the origin of this grape is from Spain, then the plantation of this vineyard spread to South Australia, California, Southern France, and the Iberian Peninsula.

This particular grape type grows well in a warm climate, with a hint of dryness in the air. The black color of the wine suggests a higher level of tannin in the drink. This is typically a dry wine and for its increased level of tannin, it earned the French name Étrangle-Chien which means the dog strangler.

Monastrell or Mourvedre has an herby and meaty aroma, just like increased tannin. These features are important for blending, as this is also used to make spicy Syrah and rich Grenache.

Other southern French varieties such as Cinsaut and Carignan are the frequent partners for blending. This is mostly because of the convenience and tradition more than the aroma or taste.

Wines with a single variety aren’t common in France or Spain, but as the curiosity of wine lovers increases, winemakers are creating better single variants these days. In France, this wine has the main varieties of southern Rhône Valley and Provence.

Uses of Monastrell grapes

This grape has a lot of skin, and this is used to make dark wine with increased alcohol levels. For that reason, this is used as a composition of other types of wine, here other grape varieties are also used. In here, monastrell is often utilized to add color and tannic and fruity taste.

Where Monastrell does come from:

Mourvèdre is another name of Monastrell and it was thought to be originated in Mourvedre, but it also has its origin in France, then in Australia, and the USA. The name Monastrell suggests that monks have spread this wine. Some archeological founding proves a semi-cultivated vine in Murcia five thousand years ago. The actual cultivation of this vine was fifth to sixth century BC, then the larger scale of cultivation developed in the Roman era. Fortunately, it has survived for a long time and today more advancement has made this wine a delicious treat.

Thus, this wine has undeniable popularity in Murcia, as the grapes grow very well to the climate. The temperature of Yecla and Jumilla stays 45 degrees Centigrade in the summer and goes down to 10 degrees in the colder weather. The day and night temperatures differ up o 20 degrees centigrade. Furthermore, rainfall seldom exceeds 350 mm in a year.

Normally, Monastrell wine-producing grape yards are not watered and the plants grow in the shape of a vase, other areas are different. The well-aired climate prevents disease and the late budding period protects from the frost. The medium-sized branches produce small berries, which mature late and have a high sugar level.

The vines of Monastrell also do great in poor soil conditions. The sandy feature of Jumilla soil is good for the vineyard. Here many ungrafted grapes have survived.

Five countries where Mourvèdre vineyards are present:

Monastrell is a late-ripening grape, thus it’s better to grow in a warmer climate. For this requirement, this wine is mainly produced in countries like Spain, France, The United States, South Africa, and South Australia.

  • Spain: This country grows the largest section of Monastrell, and it dominates the areas such as Yecla, Jumilla, Alicante, and Valencia. It also reigns over the sparkling pink drink Cava Rosé. Mourvèdre is the fourth most harvested grape in Spain for red wine.
  • France: This is the second-largest grower of this grape, and is most popular in Provence and Bandol. These places harvest fifty percent of Monastrell. The winemakers of Bandol got international recognition for the dominant variant of Mourvèdre wines. This drink is also gaining popularity in the Southern Rhône, where ten percent of this wine grape is harvested and used for the Grenache dominant blends. This wine grape is also planted in appellations and on the Mediterranean coast.
  • The United States: The grape named Mataro first reached California in the 1860s. Then it became prominent that this is called Mourvèdre. This one of the oldest vine types did the best to grow in the sandy coasts of the country and after many years its clones arrived in the area. The popularity of these vineyards spread to the northern state such as Washington.
  • South Australia: This has a similar story as California, as the Barossa Valley of South Australia became the home for the ungrafted Mourvèdre wine grapes. Australia is the main producer of Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre type, which is inspired by the Rhône trend which is also popular in California.
  • South Africa: South Africa also grows Monastrell grapes, and this is usually used to create red blends.

What does Monastrell Wine Taste Like?

This wine is a full-bodied and meaty drink. The smell gives the fragrance of dark fruit, violet flowers, herby black pepper, red meat, and thyme. In the areas of Bandol in France, Spain, Jumilla the wine here can have a stronger wild flavor. It is believed that the aroma of this wine is the fault of reduction. For this, the decanting of Monastrell is best done is 67 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Are the Characteristics of Mourvèdre?

The grapes of Mourvèdre or Monastrell are small with black skin which is used to make dark purple alcoholic drinks. The buds of the vines ripen late just to avoid the cold weather, and for this, only a warmer climate is perfect for the grapes. This wine is used as a blending partner for its ability to add the variety in taste and body of the drink. This is one of the biggest challenges of this wine, and it takes time for maturing, which gives a taste of sulfur. Wine lovers will get a taste of blue or blackberries and it’s juicier than other full-bodied wine types. After the fruit, there is a light scent of orange zest, an underlying aroma of gravel and perfume.

You will mostly get the taste of meat, gravel, smoke, rose, violet flowers, black pepper, plum, black, and blueberry. The wine takes a long time to age and has increased tannin. The acid level is medium and alcohol quantity stays around twelve to fifteen percent. Overall, the wine has a big profile, and it is produced in more than 7000. Several companies make this wine in France, California, and Australia.

Monastrell Wine Food Pairing:

As this is a full-bodied wine it requires rich foods for its high level of tannin. You can go for meat like short ribs, veal, pork sausage, rabbit, lamb, barbecue, and pork shoulder. The spicy taste of the meat will go well with the floral characteristics of the wine and this taste is found in the drinks made in Provence of France. The notes available in this wine are of thyme, rosemary, and lavender.

  • Cheese pairing with Monastrell Wine: When it comes to wine cheese can never be left behind. You can pair Monastrell with Smoked Gouda, Roncal, Pecorino, Parmesan, aged Provolone, Muenster, Manchego, Glouchester, Edam, and smoked cheddar.
  • Vegetarian foods to eat with Monastrell Wine: If you are vegetarian then you should go for lentils. You can also opt for portabello or shitake mushroom with wild rice, this will give the best flavor and make the dish delicious too. You can also use soy sauce and black pepper to add the best flavor to the vegetarian dish.

Some Interesting Facts about Mourvedre Wine

  • The best grape for hot regions: Monastrell wine grape has a thick black skin, and it ripens late every year. This has medium drought tolerance, which makes it the best grape for the hot seasons.
  • Very undervalued in Spain: The Southeastern part of Spain has the most production of this wine. You will find a good bottle for just $10 from Alicante, Jumilla, and Yecla.
  • The secret of Cava Rosé: If you are looking for champagne in Spain, you will find Cava as the best. The pretty pink color of this wine is made from the Monastrell grapes.

Frequently asked questions on Monastrell wine

1. Which wine is similar to Monastrell?

The best alternative to this wine is Syrah. This has also high acidity and tannin. But Monastrell has the color of dark red berries.

2. How to serve Monastrell wine?

The tannin level is huge in this wine, so you can have this drink with rich meat, and this can range from grilled meats to, veal, short ribs, pork, sausage, and lamb. You can also have this with pizza and hamburgers. You can always pair this with barbecue.

3. What are the differences between Monastrell and Mourvedre?

Mourvedre is the name that is used in France, where this wine has 95 other names in various parts of the world. Monastrell is the name in Spain, and Mataro was used when it first arrived in California.

4. Does Monastrell be decanted?

Fortunately for its intense scent, this wine should be decanted before pouring it into the glass. This will allow the drink to soften and breathe the aromas.

5. Should Monastrell be chilled?

The system of natural winemaking can produce full-bodied and juicier wine. So, if you like to have a slightly chilled Monastrell, then you can have it as you want.

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