Tannic, astringent, jammy, blackberry, and slightly pungent; Mourvedre is a particular variety of red wine grape; dark and jammy, grown in warm/Mediterranean climates.
This particular grape originated in Spain and has worked its way into France, Australia, some areas in Central and South America and the U.S. It is said this particular grape is not for the vintner who is faint of heart; it likes its face in the sun and its feet in the water. Which basically means it requires full sun and moist soil to thrive. The mourvedre grape is one of my favorite varieties and I’m glad it’s making a comeback onto the wine scene.
From a food perspective this grape is typically combined with Grenache and Syrah grapes into a GSM blend that seduces the palate with it’s spicy and slightly heavy, heady influence. It pairs really well with wild game and heartier meats, like grass fed or pasture raised beef, or pork/boar that has spent an ample amount of time foraging. Not to worry if you are vegetarian, mourvedre grapes pair well with heartier stews or pungent, earthy veggie combinations.
From a health perspective mourvedre grapes are a rich source of antioxidants and other phytonutrients. Resveratrol is among the most popular being in the limelight of pop culture health and fitness. Research suggests that resveratrol decreases incidence and potential of cardiovascular disease as well as balancing cholesterol and reducing the formation of blood clots. Resveratrol also protects against cell damage and mental decline. The ellargic acid found in red grapes also contributes to metabolic increase and increases the body’s fat burning potential, mostly by decreasing the body’s ability to produce new fat cells and delaying the growth of fat cells already present. Of course, all this good stuff about red wine is dependent on moderation and type of wine. So, if you’re going to have a glass, make it just a glass or two tops, and make sure it is a consciously produced wine. Old world wines from France, Italy, and Spain tend to have more stringent fermentation guidelines, otherwise, I say go for the organic, or better yet the sustainable and/or biodynamic wines. This is especially true for the Mourvedre grape, which was almost eliminated in the late 1800’s due to a mildew invasion that moved through vineyards all across the globe. This is one reason these particular grapes can be recipients of higher doses of pesticides/herbicides, so it’s best to be mindful and choose a vineyard the produces consciously.
Of course, wine isn’t the only thing that can be made out of a mourvedre grape. It can also make a pretty delicious jam.