Drumming to his own beat
Ex-roadie turned independent wine producer Tim Smith produces small-scale gems that have been quietly building up critical acclaim.
Mourvèdre is what you’d call an alpha grape. It’s dark and robust, with an earthy character. In Bandol, an AOC region in Provence, the fruit takes centrestage in the appellation’s renowned blended reds: it must make up at least 50 percent of the blend, which is completed by Grenache and Cinsault.
Over in Australia’s Barossa Valley, however, Mourvèdre, which is known as Mataro, takes a back seat, comprising 10 to 15 percent of the popular Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro (GSM) blend. “A lot of producers in Australia say Mataro is too strong [to be the main grape],” explains Tim Smith, winemaker of Barossa-based Tim Smith Wines, on the fruit’s smaller role in the winemaking equation. “I think that’s because vintners pick Mataro a little too early, so its tannins are quite harsh.”
His 2009 Mataro-Grenache-Shiraz comprises of 55 percent Mataro, 39 percent Grenache and 6 percent Shiraz. He picks Mataro later, when its tannins are riper. “I’m a fan of Bandol. I like Mataro to be dominant as I enjoy its blueberry flavours,” says the 49-year-old Australian. “My blend may not be everyone’s cup of tea.”
Excerpt from the March issue of epicure