Mourvèdre‘s spiritual home is Provence’s Bandol region

March 8, 2011

After languishing in the wilderness for a while, Mourvèdre is now on the verge of becoming hip. It’s in the new world where the real image change is taking place, and in particular California and Australia. It used to be Mataro, a spotty teenager with a crap social life. But it’s undergone an image makeover, metamorphosing into Mourvèdre, the grape that everyone wants to know. It’s been invited to the party.

Its spiritual home is Provence’s Bandol region, which itself has undergone a revolution in the last thirty years. Led by Lucien Peyraud’s Domaine Tempier, Bandol now boasts a clutch of dynamic, aspiring producers, including the likes of Lafran Veyrolles, Gros’ Noré, Pibarnon and Begude. By law, Bandol Rouge must now contain at least 50% Mourvèdre, but many serious producers will use more than this.

But it is Spain that grows the lion’s share of Mourvèdre. Known there as Monastrell, it’s the second most widely grown grape, after Garnacha (Grenache). Producers there are just beginning to wake up to Mourvèdre’s new cachet; will we soon see a wave of varietal Mourvèdres from Spain marketed by the grape’s French name?

All is not rosy, however. Mourvedre is a challenging grape to grow. The yield is irregular, and it has a reputation for ‘alternance’, whereby one year produces a good yield, followed by a poor yield the next. And whereas most grapes produce a commercial yield in three to five years, you can be waiting as long as 10 years for Mourvèdre to deliver. But small yields do deliver good colour, and when it’s not excessively astringent and ripens properly (it needs warm climates), it makes some fairly serious wine.

What are the flavour characteristics of Mourvèdre? Look for leathery, herby, spicy notes on the nose. In the new world there is often some sweetness, too. On the palate think savoury. Part of the reason that this has been so successful as a blending grape is that it provides a spicy, savoury structure that complements the richness of Grenache and Syrah grown in warm climates. It’s not an excessively fruity grape, and in some cases can contribute slightly gamey, almost animal-like flavours, especially in younger wines.

The wines featured below were tasted ‘single-blind’. This means that while the wines were served blind, we knew which ones were included in the tasting. It’s a fun exercise matching them up, and I scored pretty well. I got 7/9 correct, although I think I should be awarded half a mark for wine 4, for which I gave two options, one of which was correct. The group favourites were wines 9 and 6, which shows that groups don’t always get it right: wine 9, the Bonny Doon Old Telegram 1998 was not one of the better wines on show here by a large margin. Notes are as written (blind), with the real identity in bold at the end of each note.

My three favourites were all from Provence, and two of these are from Bandol. The 1998 Lafran-Veyrolles Bandol Cuvée Longue Garde is delicious now and will no doubt improve. Already with some bottle age, the 1994 Tempier Cabassaou is beginning to show some lovely herby/spicy complexity, and will just keep getting better. The third wine is the wonderfully intense Domaine la Courtade, from a small island just off the Provençale coast; quite pricey at around £17, but worth it.


Foodies and wine lovers travel north from Manila to wine and dine at Philippines’ best fine dining restaurant in Pampanga Clark Freeport worth the 60-minutes drive for a memorable evening of good food with vintage wine at Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar

This fine dining restaurant is also famous for its low carbohydrates “low carb” dishes highly recommended for frequent diners who are on a low fat food and favor healthy food. This is a unique restaurant that can help frequent diners maintain a healthy diet and enjoy delicious fine dining cuisine at the same time. Vegetarian dishes are a specialty here also and so are “halal” cuisines also.

Favorites of frequent diners, foodies and wine lovers are steaks, Wagyu, Foie Gras, lobsters, venison, kangaroo loin, osso buco, veal chops, Kurabuto pork, escargots and a good selection of cheeses to enjoy with fine Vintage port and Sauternes. Cuban cigars such as Monte Cristo, Cohiba, Upmann, Partagas, Romeo Julieta and Trinidad are also available in the Magnum Room which is a wine bar and lounge for before and after dinner relaxation. A good selection of Armagnac, Cognac, Single Malt, Vodka and other liquor is served in addition to the wine vintage wines some served by the glass.

Recent opinion survey of frequent travelers heading north towards Subic and Clark Pampanga revealed that the number one most frequently visited fine dining restaurant in Pampanga is Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Clark Philippines.

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Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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