Tom Lubbe is one of the original natural wine pioneers; both in South Africa, and in the Roussillon. With Matassa, his goal is to preserve the old vines of this southern French region, and to regenerate soil health by improving organic matter. His skin contact whites and light reds are about as delicious as they come.
"There was no business plan, that's for sure... Matassa happened. It was just a moment, a person, a place, a lot of things colliding..."
People: Tom & Natalie Lubbe
Place: Roussillon, France
Varieties: Grenache, Lledoner Pelut (an ancient variant of Grenache with hairy leaves and a slightly more rustic charm, which is found in the Romanissa vineyard—named after the rosemary that grows there), Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Muscat d’Alexandrie and Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? Tom grew up between South Africa and New Zealand, and it was while living in Auckland that he got into wine, working in a wine shop. When apartheid came to an end, he decided to move back to SA. It was only many years later that he would fall in love and lay roots in the Roussillon.
Tom has always worked organically, and the focus is on improving the organic matter of the soil—a task he says he'll continue to tackle until he's too old to farm. It might sound romantic, and the photograph from the 50s might look beautiful, but it's a colossal amount of work.