Rich Breshears, the East Oregonian Wine Guy, featured our 2007 Matchbook Tinto Rey in his December 9 column:
“The Giguiere family from Zamora, Calif. has been producing wines since 1983 under a label that they took to the moon. The R.H. Phillips brand was their baby, producing great wines such as Toasted Head and EXP. They sold to Vincor in 2000, and John Giguiere worked as CEO of Vincor until 2005.
The family started Matchbook, Mossback, Chasing Venus, and Sawbuck, which I’ve written about in other articles.
I was excited to try Matchbook’s “King,” in their 2007 Tinto Rey. This red table wine is the Giguiere’s favorite wine and I’ve been looking forward to trying it for some time. A mix of 44 percent Temperanillo, 36 percent Syrah, 13 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 percent Graciano and 2 percent Petite Syrah make this wine a huge combination of Spanish and Bordeaux varietals. The Spanish varietals give off huge flavors of spicy red berries, with black cherry and blueberry coming from the Syrah, cedar and rummy tobacco runs from the flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon, with tannic structure and pepper coming from the Petite Syrah. This wine is beautifully complicated, with aromas and flavors from beginning to the very end of the finish. Enjoy with any kind of red meat. I followed the suggestion from the winery and made lamb pops with rosemary and garlic. It was oh so good!”
“Why aren’t you relaxing on a tropical beach someplace?” We hear that question so often we are starting to believe we must have been absent during that life lesson on what to do after you sell your winery in middle age. But faced with retirement at the end of 2005, we realized that a massive amount of free time was not our life goal. We had to face the fact that we thrived on massive amounts of stress. It was the 24-year journey that we loved; the long and bumpy ride from the threat of foreclosure to the phenomenal success of Toasted Head. We had plenty of skeptics in those early days who said we could not grow quality grapes in the Dunnigan Hills and that was motivation enough to dedicate our careers to prove that we could. Through many years of trial and error, we discovered which grape clones worked in our hills, what trellising techniques and farming practices were best for our microclimate. With each new vineyard, we tried a new idea and some worked beautifully and some failed in spectacular ways. And by the end of our tenure with R.H. Phillips, we simply were not finished with everything we wanted to do in the Dunnigan Hills. Sure, we had proven that we could grow grapes and make wine that exceeded all expectations, and on a very large scale. But we had more experiments in mind on how we could improve quality in both the vineyard and the winery. Things like seeking out new varietials and honing in on the grape clones that we knew worked well in our heat; tracking down the land with the rockiest soil to improve drainage; playing around with native yeasts, punch down bins and red wine barrel ferments at the winery to extract more complex flavors. We wanted to do all this and more and still keep our wine prices right around $15. That’s the challenge and the thrill of Matchbook. And why we are still hard at it even while we find ourselves far north of middle age. As alluring as that tropical beach sounds, it’s going to have to wait; we are still having fun creating something special here in Yolo County.
The Sacramento Bee has captured our passion for growing and making tempranillo in the Dunnigan Hills: “No winemaking couple has more faith in tempranillo. Its day will come, they are convinced. If and when it does, much of the credit should go to the Giguieres.” Read the entire review! CrewSacBeeArticle110211