On Thursday last week, a Cape Winemakers Guild technical tasting presented by Sebastian Beaumont of Beaumont Family Wines in Bot River featuring Mourvèdre (or Monastrell as it is known in Spain or Mataró in Australia and California).
Beaumont has a fascination with the variety and makes his own single-variety version, the current-release 2014 selling for R270 a bottle. Mourvèdre is love-it-or-hate-it stuff, typically have a very strong gamey, almost animal scent combined with concentrated dark fruit and firm tannins posing the question as to how to go about selling such a niche variety? Beaumont suggested that it was beholden on the producer to foster an “emotional engagement” with the consumer and if you think what Bruwer Raats has done with Cabernet Franc by way of example, he’s probably not wrong.
Mourvèdre is the signature variety of Bandol in Provence and the Domain Tempier La Tourtine 2011 was widely admired by those in attendance. However, most observers consider Mourvèdre most useful as a blending component, adding weight and structure when combined with the likes of Grenache and Syrah. This prompted CWG honorary member and former L’Avenir winemaker Francois Naudé to observe that “couples are always more famous than individuals so why make single-variety Mourvèdre at all?” To which, Beaumont replied that Naudé, who originally qualified as a chemist, must surely concede that you have to understand individual elements before attempting to create a compound. It was that kind of evening.