More Pressing Matters at Matassa – and a walk through the vineyards

Instead of picking a few grapes in the vineyards of Domaine Matassa, I spent more time in the cellar making myself as useful as I could, and truly learning just how physical winemaking can be.
Let’s just talk about one of the many tasks I took part in during the end of my stay there : transferring a cuvee from its original tank and taking it off the marc (the grape skins, pulp and pips that are left to ferment with the red wines after the juice has originally been pressed out of them), before the wine is put into oak barrels to continue maturing over several months, often well over a year. The cuvée in question was El Sarrat, a combination of syrah and mourvèdre that is a new addition to the Matassa line-up (the first vintage, 2006, fruity, supple and balanced, was just bottled and a large shipment sent to UK chain Waitrose – lucky Brits !).
I assisted Cédric, a quiet, careful vigneron who has been working with Tom Lubbe at Matassa since the very beginning, in 2002, in first getting a new stainless steel tank ready, and a pump to transfer the wine from one tank to the next. While the wine was being pumped away, I also pulled some leftover juice from another tank of grenache, so that those few dozen liters could be added to the El Sarrat we were transferring.
After the fermenting juice was run out of the tank of El Sarrat, I climbed in and (more…)

A last taste of Canada (for the week)

I’m sitting at the Montreal airport, getting ready to take off towards Barcelona and Perpignan, for a week of grape-picking, vineyard and winery work at Domaine Matassa, one of Roussillon’s hidden gems. Tom Lubbe has been kind enough to welcome my underqualified self for this, and I thank him kindly.

I’ll also be visiting Laureano Serres, a young producer in Terra Alta, 200 kilometers west of Barcelona. He’s done picking, but I should see the winemaking at work and get a sense of how he works old vines of macabeo and garnacha and all.

Both producers are biodynamic, which should be a lesson in natural winemaking and ecology.

In the meantime, I’m having a glass of Inniskillin chardonnay – the truly Canadian one, I think. It’s not overly wooded, nor overly fruity. It’s not bad. But I should be drinking better stuff, and learning much more about winemaking, over the course of the next few days.

So cheers to all. I’ll post about the experience soon.

Published in: on September 26, 2007 at 6:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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