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Day 6: a Mataro finish

July 19, 2008

DAY 6 AFTER DINNER: Reds Meadow, Inyo National Forest

I am about to take my first sip of mataro, a grape I had never heard of before I bought this wine in April 2008, at the Grateful Palate Imports sale. Since I love the RBJ–that would be Chris Ringland, Bruce, and Johnstone– theologicum grenache/mourverde blend so much, and find it such a deeply satisfying wine, Alex Sabad encouraged me to pick up a bottle of their 2002 Mataro theologicum. And since I understand now that Mataro is another name for mourverde, I guess I do know it…a little!

Since we’re camping and cooking instead of doing hotels and restaurants, and we’re not traveling to Washington state and back like we planned do to $5 a gallon gas prices, we’re living it up by drinking GREAT wine every night; I brought a half case of Aussie wines with us! And if you’ve been following this blog journey in the eastern Sierra, you’ve heard a bit about those wines along the way!

So now let me set the scene: Reds Meadow campground, 7600’ Sierra Nevada. Freshly showered in hot springs water in the an old concrete bathhouse maintained by donations and volunteers. Post dinner of what do we still have cuz we’re still here when we were going to leave today but not too bad combo of italian pesto tortellinis and Indian food (and some classy, yummy Lengs and Cooter 2005 shiraz!!)

Sun setting leaves an orange glow on the granite plutons revealed by glaciation. Moon directly in front above the alders hiding creek, someone singing around a campfire—the millionth rendition of John Denver’s “Take me home country roads.” I could probably have opened Boones Farm and been happy (except I wouldn’t have been able to drink the wine! I could barely drink it when I was 18 and could buy it at the gas station/liquor store on Telegraph by the college that’s long gone).

I chose this RBJ Mataro knowing it foretells a special experience to match the night. Save the mosquitoes which flutter my face and my bare legs, I am content. I open the wine (love these screwtops!!) pour some into my green Mexican glass, drinking in the dark ruby color as it descends. Even in the green glass, this is a pretty wine.

I don’t bother to swirl—instead toast the night and drink deep. Wow, this is good! Different–surprising! Earthy–and hmmn, wild! meat? pork loin? or wild boar? then Spicy! Vibrant! Blackberry, no, boysenberry? Red licorice a little, now a hint of anise too. I want to say sage but I have been surrounded by it and that may be the influence. Not as heavy as the 2005 Lengs and Cooter Victor shiraz I finished at dinner, but almost like a good kona coffee—it might be lighter bodied than say sumatra but I don’t care if the flavor is there. While this Mataro doesn’t taste like coffee, something does remind me of yemen mocha. And there, at the end, the finish, it’s minerally, earthy again in a really great, complex, fascinating way. Overall, a fabulous wine, maybe my favorite although that Chris Ringland Ebenezer Shiraz is hard to beat–it has so much pizzazz! In the mataro, the tannins are present, provide some structure and would let it age more if desired—but why wait when the pleasure today is so palpable? Except maybe to taste it in a better glass…however, the setting couldn’t be better. A perfect pairing: this wild day, this wild wine.

Today. A good day. Again. Amen.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2008 11:30 am

    These posts are great writing–concise and detailed but I have to admit I’m a little jealous. Wine and camping? I’d take either one and be happy. I’ve only been to one hot springs at the base of volcano Arenal in Costa Rica. There are two rivers in the jungle, one hot and one cold. It’s beautiful.

  2. July 21, 2008 3:09 am

    Thanks so much for the compliment, Nathan! I’m glad you’re enjoying this series–it’s been fun to write and record our trip! There’s more I could do with it–add more links for example–but all that takes time and I’ve been focused on getting it written!

    I haven’t been to those hot springs in Costa Rica but a friend has and he said it was really awesome. If i ever get to Costa Rica, I hope to go there!

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