Mataro, the red wine variety that deserves to be better known

Mataro is usually partnered with shiraz and grenache but some winemakers are giving it a lead role.
Mataro is usually partnered with shiraz and grenache but some winemakers are giving it a lead role. Photo: Shutterstock

 Mataro is a red wine grape with a long history in Australia, but it has never been well known. A staple of South Australian red blends, where it is usually partnered with shiraz and grenache, mataro is sometimes known these days by its French name "mourvedre". In blends, mataro offers deep colour, earthy berry characters, good textural interest, and tight tannin structure. Some makers now bottle straight mataro to allow this worthy grape's butch personality to take centre stage. It is worth exploring.

Woods Crampton Black Label Single Vineyard Mataro 2016

$26-$28 Score 92

From an 80-year-old Barossa vineyard, this purplish wine offers aromas of blueberries, spices, dried herbs and gravelly earth. In the mouth it is medium-bodied, intense and complete, with an attractively herby Mediterranean accent. Screw cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over five years.

Stockists include Psarakos Market, Thornbury (Vic); Thirroul Cellars, Thirroul (NSW).

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Mourvedre 2016

$28-$30 Score 90

Excellent McLaren Vale mourvedre/mataro with dark berry, spice, vanillin and earthy regional aromas. It tastes smooth and generously built, with a fine, grainy varietal undercurrent. There is ample mid-palate depth and persistence, supported by ripe, soft tannins in easy balance. Screw cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over four years.

Stockists include Dan Murphy's stores.

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John Duval Wines Annexus Mataro 2016

$67-$70 Score 91

A limited-edition Barossa mataro, this wine marries good depth of blueberry and slightly orange-like fruit, suggestions of ink, and a seasoning of lightly charry oak. The palate is seamless, long and smooth with balanced fine-grained tannins subtly backing it up. Screw cap; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over five years.

Stockists include Summer Hill Wine Shop, Summer Hill (NSW); Dan Murphy's, Prahran (Vic).