MATARO (aka Monastrell / Mourvèdre)
Is it truly a grape doomed to be known only as the M in GSM? Referring, of course, to the classic blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that has now been pigeonholed by a catchy nickname (darn you Aussies.) Thankfully, Spain has a solid number of single varietal examples, be they named Mataro or Monastrell, that have more than proved the grapes’ value on its own merits. Wines from the Jumilla region specifically have only been recognized for their high quality wines since the mid nineties, and for those paying close attention, they are now considered some of their favorites in all Spain. Mataro does have a solid history here in the US, but, just like in Europe, has been mostly overlooked. Maybe the connection to Grenache and Syrah helps with some name recognition so that producers savvy enough to make a varietal Mataro or Mourvèdre don’t have too far to reach when explaining just how great a grape it is.
Fine Disregard Wine Co. is the combination of Mike Schieffer and Kara Maraden, both of which pride themselves on making sure their wines do all the work. Meaning that they make Fine Disregard wines by letting the grapes express themselves, subscribing to ‘minimal manipulation’ but also clean winemaking. They also strive to create California wines from grapes like Mataro and Semillon: they avoid making decisions in the vineyards or in the winery with hopes to mimic Old World wines from very different climates and terroir. The Mataro is sourced from vines that are over 100 years old, yes, here in California, and they have plenty to express on their own. Here’s to more Fine Disregard!
As confusing as the name of the grape has proven, there is no mistaking that this wine carries of the deep fruit intensity more in common with the varietal wines of Spain than those of Southern France. Bubbling with Boysenberry and a briar of blackberries on the nose, with a dusting of dark cocoa powder. The dark and bitter side of the chocolate spectrum is vital here in the mouthfeel in order to balance out the fruit, and lay the foundation for the whole second dimension to this wine. A layer of bitter grilled herbs and peppercorns on the outside of a steak is a great underlying compliment to the deep and ripe fruit. Grippy with texture and the tannins, although very well integrated, are simply not messing around. Treat yourself and make a deliciously rich duck cassoulet on a cool autumn night. Drink this with that. Ready? Duck. Go.