Tasting T1.17 France Mourvedre

Mourvedre, in my humble opinion, is a great grape variety. In terms of taste and longevity it is actually often compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Mourvedre is a strong, full-bodied grape variety that often denotes dark fruits, prunes and herbaceous notes. It does extremely well in hot regions hence why it is grown the most in Southern France, Spain and Australia. Mourvedre has also recently been included in the rise of Paso Robles GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) wines.

Mourvedre also goes by many other names, the most common are Mataro and Monastrell. Here in our tasting we have Mourvedre from Southern France. Most wines are actually from the Southern Rhone wine region and then we have one from Bandol which specifically has higher Mourvedre percentage wines. Finally just to add… the ability of this grape variety I still do not believe has been discovered. I am consistently surprised by what this grape can do and it is certainly a grape that everyone should try. Anyway! Lets have a look at the wineries.

The Wineries are:

Chateau Juvenal

Anne-Marie and Bernard Forestier bought the Domaine in 2001.. it also came with a castle. At the time the Alban family were producing red, white and rose wines and in 2011 both families pooled their land together and thus Chateau Juvenal was born. The Domaine was then put under the leadership of Philippe Cambie, arguably one of the most famous French winemakers in the world. Every process is certified as fully organic and the Domaine is becoming well-known throughout the region as progressing in creating quality wines.

Domaine Les Ondines

Today the estate extends over 57.5 Hectares in the Rhone Valley. The Domaine offers Cotes Du Rhone, Vacqueyras and IGP Vaucluse wines from across the valley. The cellar that they use today was created in 2003 and they planted their first white grape varieties between 2002 – 2005. Interestingly they planted Mourvedre quite late in their history and it was first used in 2016 which, incidentally, is the vintage that we are tasting tonight! They started organic farming in 2009 and have consistently been planting new vines from 2012 – 2017. They have also been planting more Clairette and Roussanne vines in order to increase their white wine production.

Domaine du Gros Noré

Founded in 1997 by Alain Pascal the estate is situated in the Cadiere d’Azur perched on top of a small hill near Castellet. Alain named the estate after his father who taught him passion for wines. His father was a well respected man and was one of three ‘Honorés’ and was nicknamed Grosnoré as he was a little overweight, thus Domaine du Gros Noré was born. As the estate is in Bandol the main wine produced here uses the Mourvedre grape as with most estates around as well. Alain’s favourite wines that he produces are indeed his red wines and he even knows each vine and plot so intimately as he walks his dogs across his plots… talk about commitment.

Xavier Vignon

For those of you who have not heard of this man, he is an enigma. As a young man he became an oenologist and travelled for 10 years across France discovering all of the different wine regions. The two that left an impression, however, were Champagne and Bordeaux. After a few years he set him self the insane target of completing two harvests a year… in different hemispheres. He harvested in France in the summer and then travelled to New Zealand and Australia where he harvested in their summer (our winter). In terms of his time in Australia he learnt particularly about modern production methods and dealing with large volume. In the late 1990’s Xavier travelled to the Southern Rhone and there was where he decided to settle down. Since then he has pushed significant boundaries and completely changed peoples perception of wine and wine making. All of his wines are completely unique and his Arcane range really is something to behold. I won’t spoil the party for you but this mans wines are definitely something you should have.

Domaine Les Aphillanthes

Spanning several generations of grape growers, this Domaine has generally stayed below the radar in the UK. However, it produces some of the best Plan De Dieu wines I have tasted and deserves lots of plaudits. Started by a father and son team, Daniel Boulle created Domaine Les Aphillanthes in 1999 when he and his wife built their own cellar by hand… again talk about commitment. In 2003 the Domaine received Organic and Biodynamic Certification. Between 2009 and 2014 they expanded their vineyards in the area and also purchased some vines in Rasteau and plots in Gigondas. Today the Domaine has 40 hectares which covers many sub regions such as IGP Vaucluse, Cotes-du-Rhone, Cotes-du-Rhone Villages (including Plan De Dieu), Rasteau and Gigondas. Daniel’s son Cyril started working at the Domaine in 2022 and thus ensuring the succession.

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

This Domaine has been producing fantastic wines for many years. 3rd Generation Stephane Usseglio is at the helm now having taken over from his father Raymond. Across 24 hectares in Chateauneuf du Pape this Domaine has been producing red, white and rose wines for years. Originally from Italy, the family settled here to produce wines that were closely linked to the terroir of the area. This Domaine is considered one of the best in Chateauneuf and is seemingly only getting better since Stephane has taken over. Certified biodynamic, the Domaine has maintained quality and sustainability as two of its core values.

Tonight’s tasters are David, Harry, Kim & Jen.

Chateau Juvenal ‘M’ 2020

99% Mourvedre and 1% Grenache. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats with punching down and pumping over taking place. The wine is then filtered and aged in barriques for anywhere from 4 – 8 months.

Note: Gorgeous aromas of blackcurrants, blueberries and blackberry leaf. Lovely peppery aromas with garrigues as well. On the palate a med-full bodied wine that bursts with dark fruit. Seamless and powerful tannins that are starting to embed nicely but also giving a good bite. Lovely, juicy and elegant, certainly ready for drinking now and over the next 5 years.

Domaines Les Ondines ‘M’ 2016

100% Mourvedre. The cellar utilises a gravity concept thus not using any pumping techniques. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats with daily pumping over.

Note: Strong savoury aromas here with good vegetation, rosemary and thyme, some lovely garrigues notes here. On the palate there are lovely earthy notes with dark cherries and blackcurrants. Silky smooth in the mouth with lovely, fine tannins which offer up cedar notes. This is a very elegant and powerful wine and has lots of quality. A lovely long finish with great acidity adding a freshness to the end. Drinking well now and will evolve nicely over the next 8 years.

Domaine du Gros Noré Cuvee Antoinette 2016

90% Mourvedre, 10% of Grenache and Cinsault. Named after Alain’s mother each plot is hand harvested and vinified separately in stainless steel vats. Fermentation then takes place and is then stored in large barrels for roughly 18 months.

Note: Lots of earthy, herbaceous and eucalyptus aromas. Lots of dark fruit, prunes, plums and blackberry. A very luscious and thick body with serious depth of flavour and concentrated dark fruit. Tannins build nicely through the wine adding good complexity with acidity adding length. Lots of dark fruit and vegetal flavour here with power and elegance. It is still quite taught and will evolve nicely over the next 8-10 years. I would cellar this for another 3 years and then start to enjoy.

Xavier Vignon Le Diable 2015

100% Mourvedre. Hand harvested with stainless steel vat maceration. Aged for 15 months with 30% in new oak and 70% in concrete tanks.

Note: Lovely dark cherries, blackberry leaf and blackcurrants on the nose. On the palate the fruit here really is king and is so concentrated. There are hints of leather and herbaceous notes as well. A long and powerful body with great complexity and a layered mouthfeel. This is drinking well now and will certainly evolve over the next 5-8 years.

Domaines Les Aphillanthes Cotes-du-Rhone Mourvedre 2010

100% Mourvedre. Stainless steel vats were used for fermentation and then oak ageing for anywhere from 6-15 months. But do not quote me on that.

Note: Lots of farmyard aromas here with dark fruit slightly remaining but stewed fruits and farmyard taking centre stage. This wine has a whole new persona. Gorgeous notes of white pepper and classic garrigues still present giving great intensity. Supple and silky smooth and very soft in the mouth. Tannins are quite rounded but nicely present offering good structure and build, there is also great freshness, which is astounding, from the pulsing acidity. This certainly has some life left in it and will certainly continue to evolve over the next few years. Definitely start drinking now and then over the next few years.

Domaine Raymond Usseglio La Part des Anges 2007

 70% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache & 10% Syrah. Vinified separately with fermentation taking place in stainless steel vats and/or concrete. Oak ageing for anywhere between 8-14 months.

Note: Solid earth, blackcurrants and prune aromas here. I am honestly surprised there is fruit here but such is the talent of the Usseglios. Lots of garrigues, vegetation and leather. Smooth and luscious on the palate with lots of freshness and lovely fine tannins adding layer upon layer of texture. This is an absolute class of a wine with a gorgeous, luscious body with power, depth and concentration of flavour. This is definitely in its peak drinking window and will continue to offer pleasure of the next 5+ years.


Whilst I appreciate I may have said this many times, I was really looking forward to this tasting as Mourvedre is a favourite of mine. These wines did not disappoint, in its young age and done well Mourvedre produces fruit forward and juicy wines with excellent power and structure. As it becomes older it develops that power and becomes elegant with vegetal and herbaceous notes coming forward with incredible length on the palate. A truly unique and fantastic grape variety and I’m sure once you see the scores below you will see my point of view.

The scores:

Juvenal ‘M’ 2020 – 91 Points

Ondines ‘M’ 2016 – 92 Points

Cuvee Antoinette 2016 – 94 Points

Le Diable 2015 – 92 Points

Cotes-du-Rhone Mourvedre 2010 – 93 Points

La Part des Anges 2007 – 96 Points

I would certainly suggest to anyone that they visit the southern Rhone and Bandol region in particular to taste through some great examples of Mourvedre. As you may or may not be aware Mourvedre/Mataro/Monastrell is produced in pockets across the world now and there are amazing wines coming out of Spain and Australia that utilise this grape to its full extent.

I hope you have enjoyed the article and I thank you for reading as always!

We will be back soon with another 60th Tasting… Northern Rhone reds this time.

Thanks again,

Harry Vernau

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