Monastrell from Murcia and Valencia with Lamb-Beef Burgers and El Taberno #WorldWineTravel

EL TABERNO: a veritable tower of vegetables! a great vegetarian pairing for Monastrell!

What wine is known as “the dog strangler”? What was the fourth most widely planted red wine grape variety with 106,380 acres in Spain five years ago? Why, Monastrell aka Mourvèdre in France and Mataro in Australia! Sadly these plantings are DOWN 150k acres from 10 years ago as vineyards get replanted with popular international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. 

However, in eastern Spain, particularly around Murcia and Valencia, Monastrell continues to be one of the primary red wine grape varieties in the DOPs of Jumilla, Yecla, Valencia, Almansa, and Alicante. 

Today we celebrate these plantings of Monastrell with examples from three areas: Yecla, Jumilla, and Alicante for #WorldWineTravel hosted by Cindy Rynning at Grape Experiences.

Whether known as Monastrell, Mourvèdre, or Mataro, I’ve long been a fan of this meaty monster, especially in combination with the more lively Garnacha/Grenache. Here’s where I discovered Mataro.and we had fun with it here howling 

The grape skins of this late to harvest red are said to be thick– dense enough to choke a dog! Hence its nickname “the dog strangler”! And if most winery dogs are like Molly and Brody at Clos des Amis, they can eat a lot of grapes so we best be careful with the Mourvèdre when it finally comes in!

If I’m a a Monastrell fan, the WINE LUNATIC is a super fan! I love his introduction to his favorite grape which he shared at the Wine Media Conference a few weeks ago, and I begged him to turn his Ignite!Wine into a video that I could share today with YOU. Check it out — and be ready to laugh! 

The Wine Lunatic and I traveled together in Southern Oregon (along with a few other media) where he was always asking about his favorite grape, Mourvèdre. I hope you enjoy his excellent introduction to his favorite grape Monastrell– Mourvèdre– Mataro, as well as our three below with fabulous pairings of course!

That’s from the top: basil, goat cheese, chopped brined black olives, grilled eggplant, tomato, more grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, roasted sweet potato … and more of these vegetables rotated in a stack to make this tower!

inspired by regional cuisine

  • Cheese plate: Spanish Manchego, Spanish Goat milk cheese with rosemary, olives, almonds
  • Lamb Beef Burgers with arugula and fresh garden tomatoes 
  • Oven roasted fries
  • El Tabernero — our version of this tower of vegetables included a stack of eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, fresh tomato, olives, with a disk of goat cheese and a balsamic drizzle 

This El Tabernero inspired us to create our own tower of vegetables — much taller and so much yum! Thanks Sue! Let’s do this again!

all wines purchased

  • 2017 Consentido Manastrell Barrica Yecla DO, Murcia
  • 2016 Caracol Serrano “Red Blend” Jumilla DOP, Murcia
  • 2016 Tarima Hill Monastrell Alicante DO, Valencia 


2017 Consentido Monastrell Barrica Yecla DO, Murcia
ABV 14.5% alcohol
SRP ? I paid $6 at Grocery Outlet !
Grapes: Monastrell

Color Medium density, ruby red

Aroma Black cherry, marshino cherry, Lazaro cherry, different interesting cherries, Cherry Garcia ice cream. Vanilla, green herbs, oregano, rosemary, dried roses, iron rich soil, musky earthy rich kind of a smell. The nose is nicely interesting.

In contrast to the nose, the palate is a bit more simple. Bright cherry, bright tart cherries at the front of the palate. Soother richer cherries at the back of the palate. Grippy tannins, but not overwhelming. The iron mineral lingers at the back of the throat. 

Clean, simple and pleasant with the rosemary goat cheese. It was alright with the Manchego, but we both liked it better with the rosemary goat cheese. Fantastic with a salt cured olive. It loves the salt bringing out nice fruit in the wine taming the tannins as well. While this wine is nice on it’s won. It is enhanced so much with food. The vegetable tower shines with the wine. It loves the herbal basil, fresh garlic and bright tomato as well as the roasted vegetables. The complex flavors in the food bring out a nice complexity in the wine. Both food and wine are in tandem together. yin and yang, maybe even the richness of the lamb in the burger is what makes it work. 

2016 Caracol Serrano “Red Blend” Jumilla DOP, Murcia
ABV 14.1% alcohol
SRP ? I paid $5 at Grocery Outlet 
Grapes: 55% Monastrell, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah

Color Medium density, ruby on the way to garnet

Aroma Cherry, cherry cola, Dr. Pepper, cherry snuff, cherry pipe tobacco, carnation
Palate Bright cherry fruit, smooth on the palate, lingering minerals and cherry on the back of the palate. Sue really liked this wine. It is smooth and easy to drink and will be a nice pairing with our meal. 

The rosemary goat cheese brings out an herbal quality that was not really evident on the palate without food. Fabulous the creamy Manchego. Loves brininess of nichoisse olives. The wine is a smooth operator with the food. The wine becomes velvet on the palate with the richness of the food. The roasted vegetable tower works nicely with the wine. Both have such rich flavors that work so nicely together. Fabulous with the grilled meat. Loves the smokey richness of the burger. The sesame seeds on the bun also add a rich nutty characteristic to the meal. 

2016 Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Monastrell, Alicante DO, Valencia 
ABV 15% alcohol
Grapes: organic Old Vine Monastrell
purchased for $15

With vines planted in 1930 and 1970 in the subregion located between the Sierra de Salinas, Sierra de Umbria, and the Sierra de la Sima., Tarima Hill claims to have the most authentic clones of Monastrell in the world in their multiple proprietary ungrafted vineyards. Grown using traditional dry farmed viticulture, the organic goblet trained vines produce late ripening thick skinned grapes that are handpicked, sorted, then fermented and aged using indigenous yeast in stainless steel open top fermenters, then aged in new French oak Bordelaise and Burgundy barrels with some second use barrels. Fourth generation grower Rafael Cañizares purchased the estate in 2004 and makes the wine. 

Color Very dense, maroon velvet curtains, ruby rim, looks unfined and unfiltered (and we were correct when I checked the tech sheet!)

Aroma Musky and husky, smelling like a healthy human working outside in the vineyards. Fresh ripe blackberry, brambly, a bit jammy, preserves, sweet vanilla comes through on the nose after having tasted the wine. 

Palate Oak is much more present on the palate then there is on the nose. Sweet vanilla, dusty tannins, vegetal herbascousness, was there whole stem inclusion? The back of the palate is much different than the back a mullet busniness up front and a party in the back. Up front there is structure, tannins, and tart fruit. The back of the palate the fruit and herbs hang on for a good long time. Why don’t people make preserves like this– rosemary with brambleberry?

Pairing Loves the rosemary goat cheese, would be great with lamb shanks or roast lamb with lots of rosemary and herbs. The salt brined olives were handled nicely by the wine. The creamy richness of the Manchego is tamed by the fruit in the wine bringing out those darker flavors. The food brings out the jamey qualities in the wine. The meat brings out the rich jammy preserves that are not overly sweet, but apparent in the wine. The rich grilled lamb burgers smokey characteristics are quite perfect with the wine. On a second night, while I planned to do lamb, I paired this wine with a grilled rib eye steak I found on sale. Excellent! 

At this price, for this quality, and for organic old vine Monastrell, I would absolutely buy this wine again!

Note: This is lucky post number 1111!

For more about Murcia and Valencia, check these out:


Check out the articles by participating bloggers; in addition to our article “Monastrell from Murcia and Valencia Paired with Lamb-Beef Burgers and El Taberno” here on Wine Predator  you’ll find:







To learn more about the wines of Murcia and Valencia and their star grape Monastrell, join our twitter chat at 8am Pacific. We’ll be discussing the following:

  • Q1 11 am ET/8 am PST: Welcome to the #worldwinetravel chat. Where are you tweeting from?  Introduce yourself. And, please, share a link to your blog.
  • Q2 11:05 am ET/8:07 PST What wines from Murcia or Valencia did you find? Pictures please! Any favorites? #worldwinetravel 
  • 11:10am ET/8:14 PST Q3 – Did you discover any “fun facts” about the region of Murcia or Valencia? #worldwinetravel 
  • 11:15am ET/11:17 PST Q4 – Monastrell reigns in the region, but there are other varieties. Did you have any of those? #worldwinetravel 
  • 11:20 am ET/8:21 Q5 Which style of wine did you enjoy – red, white or rose? What did you think?  #worldwinetravel 
  •  11:25 am ET/8:28 am Q6 Did you pair your wine with food? Share the details and a photo if possible! #worldwinetravel 
  •  11:30 am ET/8:35 am PST Q7 Have you ever traveled to the regions of Murcia or Valencia? What did you find? #worldwinetravel 
  •  11:40am ET/8:42 PST Q8 Anything interesting about the history or culture of the regions that piqued your interest? #worldwinetravel 
  •  11:45am ET/8:49 PST Q9 What one thing would you tell a friend who is unfamiliar with the regions or the wines? #worldwinetravel 
  • 11:50am ET/8:56 PST Q10 Let’s go to Spain! What will you do first when you get there? #worldwinetravel 
  • 11:55am ET/ 9 am PST Thanks for joining #worldwinetravel chat about Murcia and Valencia. Read the invite post here for next month:


11 thoughts on “Monastrell from Murcia and Valencia with Lamb-Beef Burgers and El Taberno #WorldWineTravel

  1. I like the comparison of the three wines. That’s a great way to get a real idea of the same grape and what it can taste like. The food sounds yummy, especially that vegtable stack.

    Liked by 1 person

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