Now in the Roussillon of France,New Zealander Tom Lubbe grew up in South Africa and spent the 90's working at the only estate opting for lower yields and native yeast at the time. With an interest in working with Mediterranean varietals and on the advice of his then employer at Welgemeend,Tom secured an internship at the legendary Domaine Gauby. Asked to return for three consecutive vintages,Tom obliged and eventually married Gerard Gauby's sister with whom he now has multiple children.
With steep vineyards planted to traditional Catalan varietals,Tom's vineyards are farmed organically with biodynamic techniques followed by winemaking rooted in simplicity. His white wines are whole-cluster basket-pressed with limited sulphur used after malolcatic fermentation,with aging in the especially large 'demi-muid' (oak barrel).
While Matassa wines are typically named after their 'lieu-dit' (small/local geographical area),the Cuvee Marguerite honors his wife's grandmother,one of last people to speak Catalan as her first language.
- Tom Lubbe
- Macabeo, Muscat Blanc, & Muscat of Alexandria
- Alcohol %
"How does a New Zealander who grew up in South Africa end up starting an iconoclastic estate in the Roussillon?
This isn't exactly an everyday occurrence, but so it goes for Tom Lubbe of Domaine Matassa. In the late 90's, Tom was working at the only estate in South Africa using indigenous yeasts and lower yields. Interested in working with Mediterranean varietals, Tom managed to score a three month internship at the legendary Domaine Gauby in the village of Calce. Gérard Gauby quickly befriended Tom and asked him to come back for three consecutive vintages as a cellar hand. During that time, Tom met his wife Nathalie, who just so happens to be Gérard's sister. The birth of their first child made Tom reconsider moving back to South Africa, opting instead to stay in Calce to start his own estate. Matassa was founded in 2003, with the first vintage entirely produced in the recently married couple's living room. Gérard felt so bad about this that he gave Tom the old Gauby cellar in 2004!
Tom works with many of the traditional Catalan varieties. These grapes are often co-planted together, particularly in the very old vines. In total, 20 hectares are cultivated on lime, clay, schist, marl, black slate and black marl soils. While Tom still farms some of the very low yielding old vines around the village of Calce, he has vastly expanded to different areas where yields are more generous, typically in the 25/30 hl/ha range (still relatively low for the region). These include the lieu-dit Coume de l'Olla as well as a 2019 acquisition of eight hectares planted above his new farmhouse (read more about this in our 2019 visit).
The vineyards are worked naturally without any chemical aids and Tom is certified organic by Ecocert. And while he does occasionally use biodynamic techniques to activate and nourish his soils, over the years this has become less of a priority. Instead, an adamant dedication to cover crops has completely transformed his soils and in turn the wines. Tom is convinced that the increased insect life within the soils, particularly worms, has changed the flavors of his wines. Another shocking effect: a drastic drop in alcohol."- Louis/Dressner Selections
- Vineyard notes
-Sub-region: Cotes Catalans
-Farming: Biodynamic / Organic
- Awards and accolades
-Importer: Louis/Dressner Selections