Terrifically aromatic, with a lavish mix of black cherry and black raspberry fruit, licorice, and violets, tinged with new-wood cedar and sweet baking spice
In the mid-’80s, Matt Cline made a big discovery — a 5-acre parcel of Mourvèdre that had been planted on Delhi sandy loam more than a century ago, east of the San Francisco Bay. In 2014, those 130-year-old, drought-stricken vines eked out the tiniest of grapes. From them, Matt produced a masterwork of deep berry concentration, richly layered and amazingly light on its feet. The good news: I walked the vines with Matt last summer, and the historic parcel continues to thrive. Even better: $34 on release, the 2014 Three Wine Co. Mataro Spinelli Vineyard is just $19.99 for Wine Access clients.
It’s the secret ingredient in Xavier Vignon’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Anonyme” and the essence of Beaucastel’s “Hommage à Jacques Perrin,” Robert Parker’s 100-point elixir. When Mourvèdre vines — what the Spanish call “Mataro” — are long in the tooth, and the soil is fine and sandy, no variety combines such a combination of dark-red-fruit voluptuousness and chameleon-like complexity.
Back in the mid-1980s, when Matt Cline discovered a 5-acre Mourvèdre parcel improbably planted on Delhi sandy loam east of the San Francisco Bay, he was intrigued. On a whim, he locked into a few tons of small-berry fruit drawn from gnarly vines that spider close to the ground to protect themselves from the bay breeze. At harvest, there were just a few clusters per plant, barely a ton and a half per acre. We remember that first Mourvèdre wine from Spinelli Vineyard. It wasn’t just good; it was spectacular.
In the years to come, Matt would fashion some of the greatest Zinfandels on the coast, single-vineyard bottlings from old-vine Contra Costa sites named Bigelow, Mazzoni, and Live Oak. But few knew that Cline, just like Beaucastel and Vignon, was sprinkling his secret old-vine Mataro all over those high-end Zins, providing silken texture, high-toned red-fruit intensity, and ethereal aromatic delicacy.
Twenty years later, when Matt and his wife Erin launched their own boutique brand called Three Wine Company, they decided to pay a special tribute to Spinelli. In the 2014 growing season, the third in a series of four drought vintages on the North Coast, Matt again crafted a few hundred cases of pure Mataro off that 5-acre patch, making for a rare old-vine American red that combines New World bombast with Beaucastel complexity. Matt was nice enough to earmark 100 cases for Wine Access clients, but they won’t last long.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
I absolutely adore this wine and most every other Three Wine vintage I've purchased through Wine Access, especially the Evangelho. I'm a sucker for old vine wines and the heirloom lots that Three Wine company managed to rescue from the bulldozer are truly a treasure.
Perhaps my favorite everyday red; smooth, complex, lots of wild berry flavors and some earthy undertones.
Impressive wine, very complex fruit. Cool to think of 120+ year old vines!
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