Mataburro – Introduction
Roussillon is the Catalan region of France lying on the Mediterranean side of the country in sight of the Pyrenees mountains that divide Spain from France.
Mataburro is the name of small domaine established in Roussillon by rising stars Laurent Roger and Melissa Ingrand. Their wines are natural and very delicious!
This year the quantity was somewhat lower than in 2021, but the quality of the wines is as high as ever due to the attention, love and care that Mataburro applies to their wines.
Laurent worked for several years at the venerable Paris bar à vin Le Verre Volé and after that returned to Roussillon to work directly with Alain Castex, then of Le Casot des Mailloles.
Towards the end of 2017, armed with what he had learned from Castex, he and Melissa set up Mataburro as their brand and took over the remaining three hectare vineyard from his father and are returning it to its organic past.
In 2019 they started biodynamics and they are using cover crops to improve the soil quality. In fact, during our morning of walking around all of their vineyards in the spring of 2022 we were very impressed with their understanding of the role the soil plays in the vineyard.
The cover crops were cut in 2019 but perhaps in future they will simply roll them, preferring to limit the amount of tilling in the vineyard.
Alain Castex taught Laurent the importance of the soil. He also had this concept reinforced by Tom Lubbe and Axel Prüfer.
in 2019 we arranged to meet Laurent and Melissa for the first time. The day we visited the rain was like something from an apocalypse with flooding throughout the region so we did not have leisurely strolls in the vineyard we were imagining. But we did get to taste the wines and begin the always exciting process of unravelling the stories behind them.
This time (spring 2022) we visited on a sunny day and were able to walk through the vineyards, examine the soil and the vines, as well as tasting each of the young wines from the 2021 vintage.
Now, Mataburro consists of almost 5 hectares of vines, split into several parcels near Rivesaltes and Espira-de-l’Agly in Roussillon, Laurent and Melissa’s objective is always to make fresh wines which have low % alcohol, wines that are suitable for drinking in the hot Mediterranean climate in which they live. It also makes them very welcome arrivals for this time of year in Australia.
The winemaking at Mataburro usually consists of short macerations of whole bunches with no foot stomping to limit the extraction. They believe that foot stomping makes wines that are less delicate.
All macerations take place in fibreglass with, for the most part, the wines aged in stainless steel. The wines are not filtered and have no added sulphites. Laurent recommends serving all Mataburro wines in a carafe.
The photo below was taken in the Mataburro cellars. It shows a large stainless steel vat containing the 2019 juice for the Idoine cuvee which we will be receiving this year.
Mataburro Otium 2022
The Mataburro Otium 2022 is predominantly Grenache, made from the old vines planted by Laurent’s grandfather in 1949, almost 80 years ago. The vines are in the Rivesaltes district. These vines therefore have the ability to produce wines of complexity and charm.
It is so good to see vines of this age being productive and providing grapes for interesting wines such as this. Unfortunately, the undeniable increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is leading to new vines growing more quickly and therefore lacking the cellular structure required for them to last many years. Some recently planted vineyards have been failing after 15 years!
They picked the Grenache grapes over three days, the whole bunches going into separate tanks from each day, and had 4, 5 or 6 days of maceration. The reason for the short maceration is that Laurent and Melissa do not want too much extraction to occur so that the wine is not too tannic.
Laurent describes it as a kind of semi-carbonic maceration. The wine was matured in a large stainless steel tanks.
The wine has just arrived in Australia and a few hours later we held a tasting and the wine was perfect. It is light, ethereal and absolutely clean and delicious!
This wine has no additions, 12.5% alcohol, including no added sulphites, and no filtration or fining.
RRP: $59 (SOLD OUT)
Mataburro Idoine 2022
Mataburro Idoine 2022 is mainly Merlot from vines that are 30 – 40 years old which were planted by Laurent’s father. This is supplemented by a small amount of Grenache.
Vinified initially in two fibreglass tanks, the whole bunches had five days maceration. As mentioned above for the Otium, this short period of maceration ensures that not too much tannin and other harsh polyphenols are extracted leaving a surprisingly fresh and lively wine, showing that Merlot is capable of presenting many faces if treated properly.
One tank had a little pigeage and the other none to keep the floral aromas from the semi-carbonic maceration.
The two tanks were mixed after pressing and aged in stainless steel tank. This is a very clever way of dealing with Merlot.
It is interesting to see just how good Merlot can be when the wine is made by sympathetic winemakers.
Now that so many consumers are moving to lighter styles of red wine rather than the brutish wines of twenty years ago, Merlot is finding a niche.
They found the name ‘Idoine’ in a book Laurent’s uncle had written. It means ‘the good stuff’. We agree!
This wine has no additions, including no added sulphites, and no fining or filtration. 12.5% alcohol.
RRP: $59 (SOLD OUT)
Mataburro Mura Mura 2022
Mataburro Mura Mura, a name is inspired in part by Melissa’s Madagascan heritage (it means slowly, slowly), but we discovered later they are also aware that the name has a connection to Australia’s dreamtime, being an important part of the stories of the Diyari people who inhabit an area to the East of Lake Eyre.
The 2022 vintage, a rosé, is a blend predominantly of Merlot, with about 5% each Grenache and Muscat à Petit Grains.
The Merlot, Grenache and Muscat à Petit Grains had one night of maceration prior to pressing thus leading to a light coloured rosé of particular charm. When we first tasted the 2022 vintage we were delighted with the lightness, freshness and long-lasting flavour exhibited by this wine.
The Muscat à Petits Grains also had a very short maceration. It was vinified separately then added to the pressed juices of the red grapes.
This wine has no additions, including no added sulphites, and no fining or filtration. Alcohol is 12.5%.
RRP: $61 (SOLD OUT)
Mataburro Quartet 2022
We always look forward to the arrival of our supply of Mataburro Quartet, being relatively new to Laurent and Melissa’s cuvées. It is created from Merlot and Grenache Noir and is more of a red wine than the others, although still very light, pretty, saline and very delicious.
The wine, as we said above, is very light. You may find a slight bubble or two when you first open this wine but these will disappear fairly quickly. We should add here that this is often regarded as a fault in winemaking. This is simply because the wine competitions need things to take off marks for and they chose the presence of tiny amounts of carbon dioxide as one of the ways to do this.
They haven’t caught up with the fact that the world of winemaking has moved on, and many natural winemakers, especially those who add no sulphites at any time, often bottle the wine with a tiny amount of residual sugar remaining. Once the wine is bottled this sugar is converted to carbon dioxide by any remaining yeast in the wine. What these winemakers have achieved is a way of controlling any bacteria in the wine which is far more effective than adding sulphites. So, for us, it can hardly be called a fault if that is what the winemaker is trying to achieve.
It underwent semi-carbonic maceration and then was matured in a stainless steel tank. The fermentation was, of course, carried through with only the natural yeasts on the grapes. The alcohol level is 12.5%.
This wine has no additions, including no added sulphites (sans sulphites ajoutés on the label), and no fining or filtration.
It is called Quartet because it was the fourth cuvée (after Idoine, Mura Mura and Otium) that Melissa and Laurent made.
Mataburro Totem 2022
The Mataburro Totem is slightly different this year as it is made from Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre.
This wine was matured in an amphora as well as old wooden barrels to extract more colour and other polyphenols in order to produce a red wine that is slightly darker than their other wines. It is also quite structured, but there is not a hint of harshness with the wine still maintaining the Mataburro signature freshness and lightness.
We are always impressed with the amazing expression of the Grenache Noir grape that this wine represents. There is fruit at the start, followed by complexity and then an amazing finish where the soft tannins shine through. Tasters used words like soft, dusty and tightly controlled to describe the amazing tannic structure exhibited by the wine. The amphora has certainly delivered! In 2022 the addition of the Mourvèdre has also added further complexity to the wine.
Once again, here is a wine that has benefitted from grapes that have been grown in soil that has been treated with respect through the commencement of biodynamic treatment. As we have said in the introduction above, Laurent and Melissa are now even eschewing tilling and instead simply rolling the grasses and herbs so that they give back to the soil rather than damaging the vital fungal structures through tilling.
This wine has no additions, including no added sulphites, and no fining or filtration. The level of alcohol is 12.5%.
Mataburro Memo 2022
This Mataburro cuvee called Memo is Laurent and Melissa’s white wine and a wonderful wine it is! Made from 100% Macabeo (Macabeu), it is saline, mineral, very energetic and with a lovely, light, lingering freshness. The vines for this wine are very old as they were planted 70 years ago and grow on clay and pebbles in Espira-de-l’Agly.
The grapes underwent a short maceration (4 days this year compared with 6 days the previous vintage) to bring out the best of this under-rated grape variety that takes well to this treatment. This year the maceration occurred in stainless steel tanks.
For those of you who are interested in the effect of climate change on vignerons in France, consider the fact that August is traditionally the month that everyone takes their vacation. They return to work at the end of August and then start preparing for the harvest.
However, this year the grapes ripened early due to the higher temperatures experienced during the summer. Laurent and Melissa were preparing to pick the Macabeu in the middle of the month, but ended up picking starting on the 5th August!
This wine has no additions, including no added sulphites, and no fining or filtration. It clocks in at only 12% alcohol (which is 0.5% higher than the previous vintage).
RRP: $61 (SOLD OUT)
If you want to know more about the wines of the Roussillon region then you can find a summary here.
We also import some amazing vinegars from a producer who operates quite close to some of the vineyards of Laurent and Melissa which you can read about here.