1,000 Years of Mattes-Sabran, Millennia of Galets Roules
In Corbières, Château de Mattes-Sabran lies along the Via Domitia, the ancient Roman road connecting Italy to Gaul. A thousand years ago, during the Middle Ages, the château was the seat of the Duke of Narbonne. Winemaking here dates back almost 300 years to 1733, when the family of current owner Jean-Luc Brouillat founded Mattes-Sabran. Evidence of history is everywhere, and in these sunny, Mediterranean climes, time itself seems to unfold more slowly.
Incredibly, 50-year-old Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre are the new kids on the block. Vines are planted amongst the estate’s most ancient components — predating the Romans by a few million years — the galets roules. The legendary pebbles that compose the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s greatest estates are the true jewels of the Alps. Fragments of quartz that eroded millennia ago were carried here by glaciers, which also smoothed and polished the stones.
The galets not only provide excellent drainage for the roots, they also insulate the vines from the cold and the heat. During the day, the hard, dense pebbles retain heat, protecting the roots and sealing in moisture. During the night, the galets release their heat to the vines, abetting ripening and acting as a buffer to the cold.
In Châteauneuf, bottles from pebble-laden vineyards like La Crau — most famous as the source of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe’s 94- to 97-pointers — demonstrate a characteristic elegance, with striking red and black-fruit flavors accented by spice-box complexity. Such bottles regularly soar past $100 a pop. Today’s 2015 Château de Mattes-Sabran Corbières “Le Viala” drinks like mini Châteauneuf, at an everyday-drinking price!
Just $14.99/bottle, while 100 cases last. Shipping included on 6. Recommended by the CASE.