Monastrell is probably original from L'Empordà or Valencia. This variety distinguishes itself for its packed clusters of mid-small size and for its berries: small, sweet and thickly skinned with distinctive flowering. Due to its late budding and very late ripening Monastrell is a very difficult and demanding variety that needs high temperatures, especially at the end of the maturing period, and a magnesium and potassium supply enough to ripen. Cordon Royat or goblet short pruning is recommended. It is highly sensitive to drought and for this reason it acclimates well to calcareous deep soils that provide a regular though limited water supply. It is a variety with poor performance, prone to mites, leafhopper insects, stereum hirsutum and wood rot, but it has good resistance to botrytis cinerea and dead arm.
En Europe, this variety is typical from the Mediterranean area, where winters are very cold and summers, in general long and hot. Monastrell wines are particularly prone to reduction so racking should be done during the ageing. Monastrell is a very tannic variety, alcoholic and with intense blackberry and blackcurrant scent.
France is the second country in the world in number of Monastrell plantations all along the Mediterranean coast of Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. The best examples of Monastrell wine can be found at the Bandol appellation (Provence) as for instance Château de Pibarnon.
Monastrell variety also plays a very important role in the coupage wines from Rhône; Château de Beaucastel wines are renowned for their high proportion of Monastrell variety in its red wine Châteaunef-du-Pape and in Hommage à Jacques Perrin, developed mostly with old Monastrell vineyards.
Spain is with difference the country with the largest area of Monastrell plantations, and this is the fifth most planted variety after Airén, Bobal, Tempranillo and Garnacha. The main production areas are Castilla La Mancha, Murcia and Valencia and the most representative designations of origin are Alicante, Almansa, Jumilla, Valencia and Yecla. Some of the best Monastrell wineries are: Casa Castillo and Juan Gil in Jumilla; Castaño in Yecla and Enrique Mendonza and Laderas del Pinoso in Alicante.