Authentic Mataro: Tim Smith Mataro 2010
14.5%, Cork, $36
The best thing about this wine? How genuinely representative it is. If you’re looking for a classic example of Barossan Mataro, look no further.
Of course straight Barossa Mataro doesn’t always make for a perfect wine, and indeed it (arguably) makes a more approachable drink when blended with more ‘open’ varietals. Yet its charms are still quite obvious.
Perhaps the most challenging thing about Mataro – as a variety – is just how reductive it can be. By that, I mean that Mataro based wines are apparently more resistant to oxygen and reactive to the effects of anti oxidants (like S02) making for reds that are closed, backwards and less obviously ‘fruity’.
On the flipside, such tendencies also make Mataro (or Mourvedre/Monastrell) rather easy to work with in the winery, as wines can be made rough and oxidatively with a minimal need for additional preservatives. (Just as an example I tasted a McLaren Vale Mourvedre/Mataro/whatever you want to call it at Samuels Gorge last year that had never seen sulphur and spent 2 years in barrel. That’s quite normal apparently).
Naturally, such tendencies are still linked with structure and extract, so $10 Mataros aren’t going to necessarily exhibit superhuman ageability, yet the potential for long lived wines is apparent for anyone patient enough…
Given such a context there is little surprise that this Mataro presents as quite meaty, a little rubbery and reductive, the deep flavours looking lightly tinny and confected on first viewing. It’s not until you peer below this wall of unresponsiveness that more sinewy, licoricey and savoury dark fruit appears.
The palate is dry-but-rich, and strongly reticent, driven by a rich mid palate and blocky, serious tannins. There’s a sweetness of oak and some sweeter dried fruit edges but otherwise this offers little but promises much, the tannins more of an endpoint than a cohesive part of the equation.
A very serious, wonderfully true Mataro that whilst it is a little bound and black, unquestionably sings with varietal character and latent power.