The goods from Domaine Matassa are straight up some of our favourite wines. And it's not hard to see why. These incredible wines are made by the ever thoughtful, single-minded and charismatic journeyman Tom Lubbe. After finishing an intensive internship and three vintages with the legendary Domaine Gauby, he settled on a remote corner of Calce to establish Domaine Matassa in 2003. This is one heck of a spectacular location in the Pyrénées-Orientales in Languedoc-Roussillon, France.
The theme here is diversity, with the dry-grown, organic parcels surrounded by aromatic, wild garrigues and co-planted local varieties – grenache gris, macabeu, muscat d'alexandrie, muscat petit-grain, grenache noir, lladonner pelut, carignan and mourvedre. Everything is hand-picked with the wines minimally handled, naturally fermented with no additions and no filtering or fining.
Due to the low-yielding vines and soil, the wines are expressive, highly concentrated and chock full of minerality. They are true reflections of the land. The whites – Blossom, Marguerite, Coume de l'Olla Blanc – all see maceration on skins and the reds are whole-bunch fermented. Additionally, Tom normally makes two wines, Blanc and Rouge under the open-source, zero-zero-zero additive ‘Brutal!!!’ label. This year we only have Brutal Rouge and it's the wildest, most unfettered wine from this incredible set of new releases.* But he doesn't stop there, this 2020 release sees a first for Lubbe, wait for it... a R.O.S.E. And don't kid yourself, we bloody love a rose and this one is no exception especially because it's called Rollaball!
These are some of France’s most compelling natural wines, perfectly melding the wild personality of the place they are grown with that je ne sais quoi born from Tom’s global experience. They adorn the best Parisian wines shop shelves, are found in Zalto glasses on tables at Noma in Copenhagen, are poured in the pint-sized wine bars of Tokyo and drunk while sitting on milk crates in Newtown. In short, these are must-haves. But, just like last year, there's not a lot going 'round. Lock some down, grab some now. We wouldn't bet the house that there will be any left after they hit the shelves.
*The Brutal label is an open source label that has come to signify that a wine part of the raw wine movement at its apex – zero inputs in farming, zero additions, zero sulphur, and often wines that provoke for their unique personalities. Brutal wines have a reputation as being bizarre, unkindly so, these are just wines at their most unfettered, the concept born from a couple of winemaker friends who decided to label up wines that challenged the notion of what wine can and will be.