Australian Mataro wine regional and flavour profile
RED | MEDIUM BODY
Mataro taste and aromas
Wild game and/or earthy notes, with soft red fruit flavours, blueberry, plums, currants and cherries, with spicy notes such as gingerbread and Chinese five-spice, alongside subtle savoury characteristics.
Mataro tends to produce tannic wines that can be high in alcohol.
Cellaring potential of Mataro
Mataro skins, which are high in antioxidants, allow Mataro based wines to age well, developing greater complexity and leather and forest floor flavours.
Facts about Mataro
- Mataro is a prominent component in “GSM” blends where it is blended with Grenache and Shiraz. It is also used to make rosé and port-style fortified wines.
- Mataro is also known elsewhere in the world as Mourvèdres and Monastrell
- The animal, game-like flavours present in young Mataro wines can be so strong that they are occasionally mistaken for the bacteria Brettanomyces. In a well-made Mataro, these flavours should resolve into aromas of forest floor and leather with aging.
- Although it is increasingly bottled as a single varietal, the intense animal quality of Mataro is often improved by the structure, spice and tannin of Syrah and the warmth and fruit of Grenache.
- Mataro has the ability to withstand heat in warm and hot climate regions, and it is generally recognised by Mataro winemakers that the best vintages come from the hot years. However, premature leaf drop and premature ripening can be a problem in extreme heat, especially with unirrigated vines.
Australian regions that produce Mataro
There are around 12 square kilometres of Mataro in Australia. Like many grape varieties, Mataro was first introduced to Australia as part of James Busby’s collection of cuttings from his European travels in the 1830s. There it was quickly established in the South Australia wine region of the Barossa Valley, where the hot climate and warm summers provided ideal growing conditions for the vine. It also has a strong stake in the McLaren Vale region, south of Adelaide.
Some of the oldest continually producing vines of Mataro are in the New South Wales wine region of Riverland, which also has a hot and dry climate.
Historically, Mataro is grown around the Mediterranean in Spain and France where it is traditionally blended with the other local varieties. Occasionally, it is made into a varietal wine, most notably Bandol, in Provence, and also some isolated parts of Spain. There is a reason for this. Normally, Mataro makes quite ordinary wine and is best blended, adding complexity and dimension to the blend. If it was consistently made into very good wine, then we would see it regularly as a varietal and it would be as popular as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, for example. But it is not, so it is blended to add complexity, tannin and compliment the flavours of other grapes.
What food to pair with Mataro
Mataro wines pair well with flavours that harmonize with the earthiness of the wine, such as full-flavoured red meat or game that has been grilled or roasted, and earthy vegetables and herbs such as wild mushrooms and thyme.