Mourvedre, also known as mataro, was introduced to Australia during the 1830s. While extensively planted in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Bandol in France, it is believed to have originated from either Mataro in Catalonia, or Murviedro near Valencia, Spain.
Mourvedre is dark in colour, smells of Provencal herbs and spices and has plenty of tannin stuffing. This is a wine varietal greatly valued by Penfolds winemakers for its blending attributes; toning down the exuberant qualities of shiraz, while adding overall complexity and palate grip.
The contemporary Bin 2 style is based on warmer vineyard sites like the Barossa Valley and is aged in older oak to emphasise just how well the spicy savouriness of mourvedre complements the plush richness of shiraz.
|Australia’s winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds’ influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.
Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.
Penfolds’ reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times.
If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well, and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.