Sunday, October 30, 2011

Talking Wine Trends with Joe Mathes from La Chaumière

Carmen: One of the things that makes La Chaumière really special is that it has a wine cellar that has a huge variety of wines at reasonable prices, which have been cellared for a really long time. What is exciting in the wine cellar right now?

Joe Mathes: All the mature Bordeauxs that are selling for a very reasonable price, as we said. I have a good strength in Margaux, still, a lot of 1979 and '78, which nobody really has any more, I have some '90s vintages still-- 1996, 1998 --which are mature to drink now. And I still have some 2000 and 2005 but 2005 it's not ready yet. We'll keep it for another couple of years.

Carmen: What wines do you see people drinking right now?

Joe: People are drinking mainly...well, what's changed the last thirty years is that we've gone from 20% red and 80% white to, now it's exactly reversed: people drink 80% red and 20% white. 

People are mainly into fuller-bodied wines like Cabernet and Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz... Pinot Noir, it is not at the top of the list at the moment. Even though that movie came out, you know...

Carmen: Sideways?

Joe: Yes. I mean, we all love pinot noir, but most people drink full-bodied wines. 

Carmen: What is the favourite region right now? 

Joe: In the moment I would say we sell, on the red wine [generally], let's say 30% of the red wines are French, 40% are Italians, and the rest is Californians. The new [request] that comes in is for Malbec. Malbec is the new rising star in the moment, people ask for it.

Carmen: So do you think Argentina is [an] up-and-coming region, or...?

Joe: It's more of a request for the flavour [as opposed to the country or region]. People like the flavour of it, for the body. Ten years ago nobody wanted Malbec, now it's something different. 

Same as, ten years ago [everyone drank] Chardonnay. They would come in and ask for Chardonnay, let's have a Chardonnay for our white wine. Now, we have Sauvignon Blanc, people ask it, they ask for Gr
üner Veltliner, they ask for different white wines again, it is not so one-sided anymore.

Carmen: What is a wine that is interesting or different that people may not know about? A grape that you would recommend or a region?

Joe: A nice grape, for example, from Italy is Trebbiano of Lugana. Trebbiano is a really nice grape, it's something if you don't want a Chardonnay but want something close to it. If you've ever tasted a great Trebbiano you stick with it.

Carmen: What is the most unusual bottle of wine you have in the cellar right now?

Joe:  The most unusual wine would be... I have some Syrah by Sine Qua Non. Sine Qua Non is the god in California in the world of Syrah. If he scores 96 he's upset because he expects a 98 or a 100.

Carmen: Last question: what are you going to be drinking with dinner tonight?

Joe: Well, because we have a nice saddle of venison, we will have some Amarone.