Tuesday, April 8, 2008

California Grenache: Peter Mathis


Having been familiar with Peter's wines from Ravenswood, we jumped at the opportunity to put the first release under his own label on our winelist. And the wine is an absolute winner!

From Peter's website, "The tannins are ripe and round with sweet viscosity throughout, and just enough backbone (from the Petite) and acidity (from the Carignane) to make it an ideal accompaniment to food. The wine should continue to put on weight and add fruit complexity for 4 to 5 years, and should hold up well in to the latter part of the next decade. The aroma is dominated by ripe black cherries and dried cranberries, followed by a spice kissed apricot, pomegranate, blackberry and strawberries in the mouth. The ’04 Mathis Grenache is immediately easy to appreciate but rewards those who allow for some breathing time." We agree with all of the above!

Tasting it again a few weeks ago, I realize that this wine will really age nicely and continue to mellow in flavor over the next few years. The fruit flavors are gorgeous, and the wine is enveloped with fruity aromas. The full, ripe, sun drenched berry flavors with a dash of pepper & vanilla are layered with some Spring flavors of mint and English peas. The wine has a perfectly balanced lingering finish, a velvety feel on the tongue and a wild party in the mouth! A sign that really indicates that Peter is his own boss, are his special corks that are stamped with the saying, “I GROW IT - I MAKE IT.” Definitely a collector’s item.

Peter Mathis is the head winemaker at Ravenswood, where he began his career in 1990. 2004 was his very first release of his wine under the new Mathis label. Luckily for us, Peter has always been intrigued and inspired by the wines from the Southern Rhone Valley. He also has a specific passion for Grenache; "its unique, bold and juicy quality and almost unparalleled ability to express truly bright fruit characteristics" convinced him to plant it on his Sonoma Valley property in 1999.

Peter has 7 acres of vines on Mountain Avenue in Sonoma Valley. His 2004 vintage has 9% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah and 1% Alicante Bouchet in its blend; and it is all grown on the same property. The blend was aged for 30 months in neutral French barrels and was bottled in September 2007. Just over 500 cases were produced of his first vintage. If you are lucky, you may find this wine available from $36 - $55 per bottle. JUICY & DELICIOUS! FOR SURE!