WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

30 May 2005

Monastrell - Mourvèdre - Mataro strikes back!

Or a tasting trip to Jumilla, South Africa and Australia. Monastrell - Mourvèdre - Mataro: the three most common passports this great grape variety travels under. You'll find lots more tastings of M-based wines and info on the mega Bandol page of my other blog (opens in new window as do the following links:) and this Pic St-Loup feature, as well as articles ("Understanding Mourvèdre," originally written for Wine Business Monthly in the US) and news items. Anyway, I've also included wines below where Mourvèdre is blended with other grapes - such as Tempranillo, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet even - or wines made entirely from those varieties, because they were worth mentioning too... Tasted May 2005 at the London wine trade fair.

SPAIN - JUMILLA

Finca Omblancas

2003 was the first vintage from this winery-to-watch, and amazingly their Delaín  wine was made from 3 year old vines.
2003 Delaín (Monastrell, 13.5%) - quite smoky and full-bodied, shows nice ripe liquorice and herb flavours leading to fairly structured, firm and powerful palate with good length. 87
2003 Denuño Monastrell - lovely complex 'sweet' berry fruit with liquorice and herb notes; quite concentrated, lush and ripe v meaty framework. 88-90

Bodegas Valle del Carche
2004 Vega Carche Monastrell  - nice ripe fruit with reasonable depth and a touch of tannin in the mouth. 85
2004 Tempranillo - more structured with grippier and fresher palate yet has generous rounded fruit too, tangy v liquorice. 87
2000 Reserva (TempranilloCabernet Sauvignon & Syrah) - shows more upfront oak layered with lovely savoury tobacco v ripe berry fruit, nice depth and style with firm well-textured mouthfeel, power and class. 90-92

Casa de la Ermita
2004 Monastrell (organic) - delicious ripe and savoury fruit, raisins v firm tannins and smoky long finish. 90
2002 Crianza (TempranilloMonastrell & Cabernet Sauvignon) - smoky maturing complex nose, again offers lovely ripeness v structured backdrop with elegant length. 92

Casa Castillo
2004 Vendimia (Monastrell & Tempranillo) - attractive 'modern' juicy fruit style, quite chunky and grippy on the palate showing fair concentration. 87
2001 Las Gravas (MonastrellSyrah Cabernet Sauvignon) - complex, grilled and developed fruit; very firm yet has richness and depth too. 90+

Bodegas Salzillo
2002 Zenizate Crianza (Monastrell) - concentrated with lovely coating of ripe yet savoury fruit and firm, nicely maturing tannins. 89+
2004 rosado (Monastrell) - attractive chunky fruit displaying ripe raspberry and strawberry, weighty finish. 87
2003 Camelot Dulce Monastrell ("Knights of the Round Table...on second thoughts, let's not go to Camelot; it's a silly place..." Guess the movie? Email me and you'll win...my respect) - very rich, oxidised and meaty set against loads of raisin and liquorice fruit, with balancing bite on the long complex finish. 90+
N.B: the Dulce, sweet style is made from very late picked Monastrell grapes fermented to 11%, fortified with spirit to about 15% and aged in old casks. This leaves at least 50 grams/litre of natural sugar.

Bodegas Bleda
2004 Castillo de Jumilla Monastrell rosado  - earthier style than rosé above with very deep colour, nice fruit and a touch of dry grip on the powerful palate.87
2004 Monastrell - ripe pure berry and tobacco fruit, luscious black cherry palate with a bit of tannin adding framework. 87
2000 Reserva (Monastrell & Tempranillo) - mint and cigar notes lead to mature savoury v ripe 'sweet' flavours, tight structure and power v lingering dried black fruits. 90
2002 Divus (Monastrell) - cedar new oak aromas but shows ripe rustic complexity too, very concentrated with good balance of oak, firm tannins and fruit. 92+

Bodegas Viña Elena
2002 Pacheco Crianza (Monastrell) - rich dried fruits on the nose then firm savoury texture, quite powerful and concentrated. 90

Bodegas Agapito Rico
2004 Carchelo (Monastrell) - nice juicy 'modern' style fruit, rich black cherry flavours then firmer finish. 87

Three more Dulce Monastrells:
2003 Nuestra Se
ñora de la Encarnacion - complex oxidised nose with very minty yet savoury nuances, concentrated sweet liquorice fruit with bite of tannins, acidity and alcohol. 89
2003 Alce
ño, Pedro Luis Martínez - amazing blackberry fruit with slight 'rancio' characters, firm tannins yet long fruity finish. 92+
2000 
Bodegas Olivares - minty wild herb aromas with black cherry and dark chocolate, super concentration v bite of tannins and alcohol (16%); fab. 95

SOUTH AFRICA
These 3 wines were all made by Charles Back.
2004 Spice Route Mourvèdre
, Swartland - shows quite a bit of spicy oak but also vibrant berry and herb fruit underneath, good depth on a tight rounded framework. 89
2004 Fairview Mourvèdre (+10% Shiraz) - nice spicy berry fruit leads to a gamier palate, attractive ripe tannins add a touch of grip to the fair depth of fruit. 872004 Charles Back Shiraz-Mourvèdre - lively spicy black fruit nose, liquorice v gamey background flavours, tight and firm yet nicely rounded. 89

AUSTRALIA

Mitchelton, Victoria
2002 Crescent Shiraz-Mourvèdre-Grenache
 - plenty of coconut spiced oak, tight concentrated and firm palate; needs time although perhaps too much oak for the fruit to really develop? 89
2002 Parish Shiraz-Viognier - meatier more savoury fruit, rich and dark with lovely depth, firm and powerful yet elegant length too. 92+
2003 Shiraz - more delicate style with herby berry fruit and creamy wood, firm dry tannins v lingering 'sweetness'. 87

D'Arenberg, McLaren Vale
2002 The 28 Road Mourvèdre - attractively smoky ripe & minty berry fruit, a touch of background oak adds chocolate flavours too; firm and powerful, tightly textured finish. 89+
2003 The Cadenzia Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre (+ Viognier) - more berry-ish and open, liquorice Grenache fruit leads to structured yet perfumed mouthfeel! 87
2003 The Laughing Magpie Shiraz-Viognier - delicious aromatic, pure spicy Syrah nose lifted by a touch of background choco oak; nice ripe texture and fruit extract without being too heavy. 89+
2002 The Dead Arm Shiraz - herbal intensity set against very ripe fruit, subtle concentration v textured oak, dry yet ripe finish, big but not too. 90+
2003 The Dead Arm Shiraz - very perfumed blackberry and herb fruit, the oak isn't very integrated at the moment but this has sumptuous depth and tight firm finish. 92+

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