This variety is almost certainly of Catalonian or Spanish origin. Some of its names are revealing; there is not only a town close to Valencia called Murviedro, but also a town in Cataluña of the name Mataro (which is one the variety's synonyms). Given this, it indeed seems strange that its principal name is of French derivation.
Since its liquorice flavouring lends potency and attractive colour to the wines of this grape, it is popular across southern France and Spain for use in blends.Read More
Spain (particularly in the eastern peninsula where it is the main grape variety), France (southern Rhône Valley; Languedoc-Roussillon), Australia (the Barossa Valley) and California
This variety is most suited to warm/hot martime climates, which enable it to ripen completely. It has more trouble doing so in France, where the climate is cooler, and it is only really in the south of this country that the weather is warm enough for this vine's cultivation. If indeed the conditions are warm, this sturdy vine is capable of flourishing in a variety of soil types. In such conditions it is also usually able to withstand the threat of downy and powdery mildews, to which it is much more vulnerable in cooler climates.
This vine produces striking deep red wines of great power. The flavours tend to vary considerably, depending on where the grapes are grown. However, they are characteristically coarse, earthy and gamey when young, and then mellow with age to develop flavours and aromas of spices, herbs and black fruits.
Monastrell and Morastell (Spain); Balzac, Espar, Estrangle-Chien, Flouron, Flouroux, Morvède, Mourvedon, Mourvès, Négron, Spar and Tire-Droit (France); Mataró (the New World, Portugal and the Pyrénèes-Orientales) and Esparte (an old Australian name).