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Pick the Grape

Pick the Grape: a) Madeira b) Madera c) Madiran or d) Mataro

The answer is d) Mataro.

Mataro is the name used for the Mourvedre grape in Australia and sometimes Spain. A late-ripening red wine grape that typically produces dark, tannic, high-alcohol wines. While not exclusively used in blends, that is its primary use. In Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cotes-du-Rhone, and wines inspired by those regions, it tends to be added to Grenache. The same is true in Spain. The Mourvedre supplies structure and spicy, earthy, gamey flavors that complement  the Grenache fruit. In Australia, Shiraz is often added to the mix as well in wines referred to as GSM or SGM. Mourvedre is seldom the lead varietal in these blends, but it does happen. For more information on Mataro, see our Varietals section.

Madeira is a Portuguese island that lies roughly 500miles southwest of mainland Portugal. Madeira also lends its name to the fortified wines produced there. These fortified wines are made from the Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, Malmsey (Malvasia) and, increasingly, Tinta Negro Mole grapes. The wines can be made in several different styles but all are unique compared to other wines because they are intentionally heated and oxidized over a period of a few months. This initially occurred while barrels of the wine traveled from Madeira to the New World on sailing ships. Now, it’s intentionally on the island to carry on with tradition and satisfy the many people who have grown to love Madeira’s particular flavors and complexity.

Madera is an appellation in California’s Central Valley. The climate there is quite warm so the majority of it’s grapes go into inexpensive jug and bulk wines. However, Quady Winery and Ficklin Vineyards, both based there, produce some of the best fortified wines in the United States.

Madiran is an AC in the southwest of France. Centered around of the village for which it is named, Madiran AC makes Tannat-based wines so tannic that Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are sometimes blended in to make the wines more approachable.

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