Mouvédre is one of those wines that are very difficult to pin down. Perhaps the biggest problem is that it is also known by other names, such as Mouvédre or Mouvédre. It is also popular all over the globe, with both European and New World vineyards producing this wine in significant quantities. It can also be quite difficult to modernise, with most of the flavours used with Mouvédre harking back to Old World Productions. Wine makers can also confuse the issue, creating blends of both red and rose wines from the grape, which can leave drinkers unsure what Mouvédre actually tastes like.
The reason that Mouvédre is so popular among wine-makers is that it creates a wine with significantly higher in alcohol than other grape varieties, making it an ideal red blending wine. It is often used in combination with Grenache, both to add alcohol to that wine, and giving it more body. It is also preferred as a blend due to its earthy or meaty flavour which add texture to the tastes of average wines. This ability to mix well with other wines has led to many South African wine estates growing a selection of Mouvédre in order to blend it with their other wines.
The Mouvédre grape is a very late-ripening fruit, usually with large bunches of thick-skinned berries. The berries themselves are usually deep purple or black in colour, and of average size. The vines prefer to have a lot of sun, and the grapes will usually ripen well if placed next to water, such as that in False Bay. As the majority of South African wine regions are near to a coast, this makes it the ideal country for this wine. The closest to the vine’s Spanish origins is agreed to be Swartland, where the decomposed granite soil can also be useful for adding to the grape’s earthy taste, but the majority of current wines origin from Paarl, where additional irrigation helps the vine to grow.
The wine is an ideal mixer for many of South Africa’s red wines, but it is also produced as a single varietal, which is important when considering how the wine should be flavoured. By itself, the wine can become too tannic, due to the thick skins of the fruit. Excess crushing by inexperienced South African wine blenders has also lead to an excess of acids and tannins being forced into the wine. It has been successfully blended with Shiraz to produce a delicate but boisterous wine.
Common additions to Mouvédre include large fruits, and smoked flavours that compliment the meaty body of the wine. For example, those made by Charles Back have a spiced oak flavour, which then fades to reveal a very good berry, particularly dark fruits such as black berry or blackcurrant. The Fairview Mouvédre, for example, tends to have a pleasant mix of tannins with around 10 percent Shiraz, which helps to give the wine a unique flavour. The 2004 Charles Beck Shiraz and Mouvédre mix also has liquorice flavours which again accent the earthiness of the grapes themselves.