Gordo is Patrick Mata's affectionate way of calling his father, Jose Mata. For almost four generations, Patrick's family produced wine in Malaga, Montilla, Sanlucar, Rioja and other Spanish regions. These wines were sold in many countries, including the US, before and after prohibition. During the 60s, the demand of Malaga wines suffered greatly, which ultimately resulted in the Mata winery closing its doors in 1972. The wine Gordo pays tribute to the Mata winemaking heritage and, specifically, to Patrick's father. The Gordo label is a replica of one of the family labels from the late 1800s. Today, after a few decades, Patrick and Alberto through Vinos Atlantico are resurrecting their family heritage and producing wines in many regions throughout the Iberian Peninsula, including this rich yet elegant blend of Monastrell and Cabernet from the southeast of Spain.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A personal wine that pays tribute to Patrick's father. Produced from dry farmed vineyards. Vines are tended in chalk soil at 713 m (2,339 ft) elevation. This type of soil and the elevation result in wines that exhibit greater freshness with lifted flavors.
RATING HISTORY: 2014 92 JS; 2013 90VN; 2012 91RP
GRAPE: 70% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Vines planted since 1970. Tended in chalk and limestone soil at 713 m (2,339 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Try Gordo with blue cheese, stews, spicy chili and similar hearty dishes. This wine has the heft on the palate and spice to pair well with BBQ with serious heat, pulled pork sliders and “five alarm” BBQ chicken wings.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Harvest takes place in the cool, early morning hours. The best bunches are selected and undergo a gentle crush. Whole clusters with stems undergo maceration at a cool temperature (59 F). Each grape variety is fermented separately. After fermentation, the skins and stems are kept together in a post-fermentation extended maceration for seven days. Malolactic fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks. After ageing for three months in oak barrels that are two years old, the Monastrell and Cabernet are blended. The wine is bottled after one month in the tanks.
PRODUCTION: 10,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located within the Yecla DO in Zone 8, within Murcia in southeastern Spain. The vineyards are in the Campo Arriba district of Yecla, at 713 meters (2,339 ft) elevation. Monastrell is also known as Mourvèdre in France and Mataro in Italy. Yecla's higher altitude makes it significantly cooler than neighboring Jumilla, and the resulting wines are more aromatic, with a fresh, easy-to-drink character. The soils are composed of limestone and chalk with clay and gravel subsoils that are poor in organic matter. Due to the poor soils, the vines have low vigor and yields are a low two kilograms (4.4 lbs.) of fruit per vine, producing smaller berries with a higher skin-to-juice ratio. These grapes fashion wines with greater concentration and complexity in aromas. For climate, the average temperature from May through October is 66 F, with only 13 inches of rain per year. This area receives a high amount of sunshine (3,893 hours per year).
TASTING NOTES: Gordo showcases the brilliant quality of the Mourvèdre grape from this sunny appellation. The wine boasts an opaque ruby/purple color along with notes of lead pencil shavings, blackberries, black raspberries and a hint of blueberries. The sensational fruit characteristics are pure, as well as vivid. This full-bodied, opulent, stunningly savory, expansively flavored wine can be drunk over the next 2-3 years. - Notes by Robert Parker
All photos: Friederike Paetzold