Big picture, for some big wines; not over the top wines, just big in flavor, style, and design.



Wines submitted for review

  • Sonoma Valley Grenache 2017, Mathis Vineyard – field blend ($32.00) 
  • Sonoma Valley Überblend 2017, Mathis Vineyard – Petite Sirah dominant red blend ($35.00)
  • Sonoma Valley Rosé de Grenache 2020, Mathis Vineyard – 100% estate Grenache ($22.50)
  • Sonoma Valley Rosé de Grenache 2019, Mathis Vineyard – 100% estate Grenache ($22.50)

The Journey Begins

Heading back to some Sonoma County California wines, from wines primarily of the world, it was a fun fun reminder of my own backyard. Wines from Peter Mathis, Peter is a new winemaker for me, but he’s not new to making wine, most certainly. When Peter Mathis began his odyssey to create and own his own label, he was on his right path. From his Website:

I’m Peter Mathis. I made wine at Ravenswood for more than 20 years. Mathis Vineyard, in the hills above Sonoma Valley, is my “old school” project. Here I cleared the land nearly twenty years ago and planted mostly Grenache, with some Carignane, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet.

I grow it. I make it.

That’s his mantra… Now, if you also taste it, you might know what I wrote above, as to “flavor, style, and design.”

As he’s written on his Website, “Grenache is my passion.”

When I tasted the Grenache, it was just the right time. My last samples series took seven weeks of my time; it was one of my own odysseys, too. I’ve a busy life and I’m not into speed tasting, anymore. Like the first sip and glass itself, the wine in the bottle can continue to be savored as it morphs, without throwing it all back in one day. Every drop, until my focus changes.

Sometimes I combine business with pleasure. I was at a committee meeting recently. After photographing this image, I then tasted and took notes. The final step was leaving the bottle with our hosts. This time was spent with winemaker Mick Schroeter and fine artist Linda Schroeter. Mick had just arrived and spotted the bottle on the table. I told him he could have the rest of it. It was on the table for anyone to try, until we left it. (The committee has wine loving people and it’s what we do.)

He picked it up to get it into a cooler place and raised his eyebrows. The wine was just right. I had taken great care bringing it into 100-degree weather, only to be outside in a beautiful garden setting. He remarked, “We’re having beef for dinner,” and his smile said he was really looked forward to it.

My experience is that winemakers love tasting others’ wines. It’s a joy to give them wine. The level of appreciation is an honor to see and feel… It’s akin to returning to my joy from years ago, working for WBLM in Portland, Maine; from the days of photographing all those rock stars backstage, who were on tour. Today’s joy is witnessing wine’s own rock stars (terroir) in action.


[PHOTO: by and of Mathis Vineyard: All rights reserved]

The Mathis Vineyard

All of Peter’s wines come from his small 7.5 acre vineyard, just north of Sonoma Plaza and downhill from Monte Rosso, as well as several other well-known Moon Mountain vineyards. Peter cleared the land, planted his vineyard, and continues to farm it… all by himself.

Quoting from Peter Mathis’ Website:

The Mathis Vineyard is 7.5 acres of glorious south facing slopes with low vigor volcanic soils – it’s heaven for red wine grapes. My neighbors fell to their knees in laughter when I planted it to my beloved Grenache – ha! –everyone thought I would plant Cabernet. But I was following the dream (cue theme from Sound of Music) that had been in my head since 1988. In what proved to be an exceptionally brutal winter, I cleared the land myself in ’97/’98 and got to planting in ’99 and 2000.

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz ~ All rights reserved]

  • Sonoma Valley Grenache 2017, Mathis Vineyard – field blend ($32.00) 
  • Sonoma Valley Überblend 2017, Mathis Vineyard – Petite Sirah dominant red blend ($35.00)

Overall these wines just rocked it. One after the other, slowly. By the fourth one – the Uber, I felt like southern Burgundy has some influence on the crafting of this one. Mostly Petite Sirah, in the blend, the earthiness was self evident. I love French wine styles for what they are, and this one markedly delivered the terroir of what I would expect from a French wine. Great style and exuberance. Little did I know that Peter also has a love of French wines. As I’m writing reviews, I go back and forth with the company’s Website and feel upon this:

FROM HIS WEBSITE: Like in the south of France, the Mathis isn’t pure Grenache; Petite Sirah, Carignane and Alicante Bouschet are part of the field blend, and contribute structural, spice and fruit components. The actual blend varies from year to year, the Grenache typically making up about 85% – check out the tech sheet for exact vintage composition.

Let’s go to Southern French-styled wines, with the Mathis Grenache wines. The photo following is a black truffle dish, a spot of lemon, with a garlic, butter sauce, served on a baguette. Served with a rose of this style… most appropriate.

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz ~ All rights reserved]

Rose? Easy, I’m in. Refreshing as a white, with a bit more complexity… A nice segue, before hitting the Reds full force. There were two vintages. The difference between the two were within a minuscule that I realized their most important factor… consistency. Just as in Provence, the Southern region of France’s most famous for its rosés, this wine is of that Provençal style. Aromas of strawberries and lemon with the 2020, and a bit more intense with the 2019… oh, those drippingly delicious white peaches. Animated wines, both. Very clean finishes. Delightful and so food friendly…

The Passion of Mathis ~ Grenache

NOTES FROM uber tasting – My first impression of UBER ~ Burgundy’s earthiness got into heart and soul, and explained it all to my palate’s memories of France. Amazing how we can connect aromas and flavors to places we’ve been and things we’ve seen/experienced. It never fails to ignite something within that one never wants to forget. Mr. Mathis, you’ve achieved your life’s goal with Grenache. Thanks for letting me enjoy them.

From Peter Mathis’ Website about Grenache.

“Like no other grape, Grenache is a heady, frolicking mix of fruit and spice.  It’s not a wine that causes one’s brow to furrow contemplatively; it’s all about laughter and the celebration of life, of eating and drinking lustily. Don’t think, just drink – that’s the ticket!”


So here are with both red wine samples:

  • Sonoma Valley Grenache 2017, Mathis Vineyard – field blend ($32.00) 
  • Sonoma Valley Überblend 2017, Mathis Vineyard – Petite Sirah dominant red blend ($35.00)

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz ~ All rights reserved. Another truffle dish, presented at Chez Bruno; Lorgues, France.] ~ It was an all truffle, prix-fixe dinner I’m remembering. These wines deserve something very special to go with them, to delight your palate, too. I can’t help but upload this black truffle memory, with a heartier wine like Grenache. The Grenache I had was perfectly paired with this tasty, combination-seamless dish. Perhaps you’ll also go for it!

The Grenache is a part of Peter Mathis’ field blend… how old-school clever.

Field Blend: I found the finest clones available (super small berries with great color and a more tannic spine than the typical Grenache found in the U.S) that had just been imported to the country.  Rather than follow a recipe from 6000 miles away, I chose what I thought would make the best blenders based on my direct experience in California, adding Petite Sirah, Carignane and Alicante Bouschet in a field blend to add complexity and a spice factor.

I fell in love with Peter Mathis’ UBER blend. A very appropriate name… Someone recently asked, “What does uber really mean?” I said, “something that is immense, the most of, just the biggest.” It was a perfect night to ask, as we sipped away on its deliciousness. And I wrote down:

Heart and Soul… Wine is the Heart and music is the Soul…

Music is the universal language placed inside the soul… So, yin yang

Loved these wines.