This Spanish variety, also known as Mataro, is one of the three varieties often used in blending of Cotes-du-Rhone wines, the other varieties being Syrah and Grenache. In the vineyard it is late to bud and late to ripen so it needs a warm site, such as the Red Mountain appellation, to fully ripen. It produces a wine of moderate tannins with good acidity and flavors of perfumed blackberries with a hint of black pepper. It is a great accompaniment to meals that call for a flavorful wine but without the tannin and weight that Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon possess.
The vineyard block was planted in 2006 after Scott Williams, winemaker and owner of Kiona Vineyards and Winery, returned from a trip to the south of France where he enjoyed a number of Rhone wines which are usually a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, commonly called GSM blends. Scott planted only four acres, enough to parse out grapes to just a few wineries. Fortunately for these wineries, this exotic Mediterranean variety does well in the unique calcareous and well-drained Red Mountain soil which produces ripe flavorful grapes reflecting the terroir or environment they were grown in.
These grapes were harvested in late October and fermented in a one ton bin. After daily punch downs to extract color and tannin the wine was pressed and then put immediately into second-fill French oak barrels so as to slowly age the wine without overpowering it with oak. The wine was aged in barrel for 17 months and then bottled where it was aged another 24 months in bottle to soften and meld the wine.