Matchbook Wines: Igniting the Fire in Us All

Pyromania: An obsessive desire to set things on fire.

Some of us are born with a fascination of fire. When my dad was a young boy growing up in the 1930’s in Alabama his fascination with fire and mischievous nature resulted in him setting a corn field on fire! I have seen videos of young boys creating their own flame throwers with a lighter and aerosol cans. I have never been drawn to pyrotechnics but I can easily become mesmerized watching the fire in our outdoor fire place morph for hours. What happens when a youthful pyromaniac grows up to become a winemaker? Artistry is born!

As farm kids growing up in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Giguiere brothers were veritable pyromaniacs, setting numerous things on fire—including the family wheat fields. Fearing total ruin of house and farm, the boys’ father one day left them at the city jail for an hour’s “stay” to impress upon them the dangers of their fascination with fire. But it was to no avail. They soon graduated to launching rockets, which resulted in more uncontrolled blazes and calls to the fire department. Over time, the Giguiere boys outgrew their fascination with the flame. But even today they look at the Matchbook brand with fond memories of the fires they once stoked.

Matchbook Wines

When I was contacted by Dave at Matchbook Wines asking if I would be willing to review their wines I was intrigued by the nature of the name. (I suspect he asked me since I am “Fiery Red”) Upon reading a bit more about Matchbook Wines I knew I would be receiving wines of originality and high quality. Here is my tasting notes on the two Matchbook blends:

Matchbook The ArsonistMatchbook The Arsonist 2012 Red Blend: This wine was crafted of 52% Petit Verdot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot; the Petit Verdot is sourced from Dunnigan Hills Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County’s Chalk Hill Appellation and the Merlot is from Lake County. Scarlet in the glass; soft fruit notes of cherries, blackberries, plums and cranberries, along with wooden spice box, and a touch of cherry cola; on the palate those aromas are met with a smoky leather, dark chocolate and a touch of toasted walnuts; well-structured and balanced with round acidity and integrated tannins creating a full mouth feel and lingering finish.  This wine was blended and aged for 28 months in a combination of French, American and European barrels. 13.8% alcohol. $21.99 order direct from Matchbook Wines.

Matchbook Tinto ReyMatchbook Tinto Rey Red Blend 2012: This “Red King” was crafted from 50% Tempranillo, 27% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Graciano, and 4% Tannat; with the Tempranillo, Syrah and Graciano grapes from the Dunnigan Hills Vineyard and the Petit Verdot and Tannat from California vineyards. Deep ruby in the glass; aromas of red cherries, blueberries, plums and currants along with soft spice notes and cedar cigar box; on the palate the aromas are met with a touch of chocolate, dry dirt and leather notes, rich and supple in texture, round acidity, chewy tannins, medium body, long pleasing tart finish that begs for another sip. This wine was 100% barrel aged for 26 months in 22% new and 78% 2-5 year old French, Hungarian and American barrels. 13.9% alcohol. $16.99 order direct from Matchbook Wines.

Matchbook Wine Company logo

These bold California reds will pair beautifully with barbecue, grilled steak or game, pizza, roasted lamb, and wild boar ragu. I chose to pair both wines with a simple week night meal of Chili Beef Sweet Potato Enchiladas. The Enchiladas were layered with flavors including sweet potatoes, ground beef, roasted poblano peppers, cocoa powder, brown sugar, green chili sauce and pureed chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Topped with cheddar jack cheese and the coolness of a lime, cilantro Mexican crema sauce; it was a great weeknight meal that beautifully with the layers of flavors and complexities of both Matchbook wines. I especially enjoyed the marriage of the smokiness and cocoa of the enchiladas with the wines.

Matchbook enchiladas

Matchbook Chili sweet potato enchiladas

The Matchbook Arsonist and Tinto Rey pair old world grapes and style with new world techniques to craft wines that seamlessly blend soft fruit notes with dusty earthiness. These wines deliver well beyond their price points. I really enjoyed these wines!

Matchbook wines holiday sampler packGreat news Matchbook Wines’ Holiday Sampler Pack is back! You can experience both The Arsonist and the Tinto Rey along with Matchbooks’ 2014 Chasing Venus New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Arsonist Dunnigan Hills Chardonnay, 2014 Matchbook Dunnigan Hills Tinto Rey Verdejo, and 2013 Mossback Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon for only $119.94 plus a FLAT $2 shipping rate through December 31. Hurry and order yours today!

More about Matchbook Wines: Every Blend Tells A Story

Matchbook celebrates the varietals that thrive out in the warm Dunnigan Hills climate. Matchbook has nine products, all focusing on varietals that perform well in the warm Dunnigan Hills climate. Matchbook takes care to make wines true to [our] style and to the roots of the varietals planted in our vineyards. That’s why we put such great effort into our blends, working overtime to create something that seamlessly weaves the tales of each varietal, the terroir and our winemaker. We blend a percentage of coastal fruit to the Dunnigan Hills wines to add structure and intensify flavors. Our wines are always fruit first, with oak flavors a supporting element. The whites are pure, 100% varietal, while the reds are blended in the spirit of complexity and character.

My Song Selection: According to the liner notes in the compilation release Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collect, Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliot found a hymn book left by a member of a children’s choir who used the recording studio just prior to Def Leppard. The hymn book was opened to the classic 1763 Christian song “Rock of Ages,” which, according to Elliot, prompted him to write the song. I chose this song to pair with Matchbook Wines for two reasons: first, because the song is off of Def Leppard’s album Pyromania; second, because like the style of Matchbook wines it blends old world tradition with new world style!

Get your own bottles of Matchbook Wines The Arsonist and Tinto Rey AND the Holiday Sampler Pack and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!


4 responses to “Matchbook Wines: Igniting the Fire in Us All”

  1. They make a well balanced yummy Chardonnay too. Can’t remember the full name but I believe it something or other Hills. I reviewed it recently but my mind (sans Google) is a bit sketchy m

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