NAPA VALLEY - USA
In 2012, California had an effectively perfect year for grapes. The spring was dry, which meant few problems with mildew. The growing season was long and steady, without any erratic shifts in temperature or rainfall. No blasting heatwaves, no sudden cold spells, no flash-flood rains, no drought.
Steve Matthiasson, after holding his breath for months, allowed his mind to form around the potential hanging in every one of the dozens of vineyards he helped manage. This, he said to himself, could be the vintage of a decade.
And yet, as the clusters plumped on his clients' vines, ripening in such a way that would allow the wines to elaborate essentially on their own - wines that would perfectly express the vineyard, the climate, the terroir - his clients one by one told him to hold, to wait, to let the grapes ripen to their physical limit. These clients with whom Steve consulted were some of the most prestigious names in American wine. And after two consecutive cold years, they wanted 2012 to be a return to some former glory. Bigger and badder than ever. 15+% alcohol wines from the best of Napa Valley.
He would have to settle for making his own wines, under the Matthiasson label, the way he wanted. Visions of over-ripeness would dominate his roster of clients.
That lost opportunity in 2012 will likely not be repeated on a large scale. Over the past four years, there have been seismic shifts in the expectations of consumers. Minerality and acidity, words the average wine drinker would have scratched her head at in 2010, are now so commonplace as to border cliché. That's a huge win for the movement championed by Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson.
Arnot-Roberts, Domaine de la Cote, Hirsch, Broc Cellars, Lioco, Scholium Project, Tyler Winery… The list goes on. Matthiasson is the touchstone among them all. Now long overdue, we are very excited to present the slate of Matthiasson Wines, each on its own terms.
Matthiasson Linda Vista Chardonnay 2017
Steve Matthiasson -“In 2011 we leased the old Chardonnay vineyard behind our house. The West Oak Knoll area where we live is one of the classic Chardonnay spots in Napa, going back to the 60s, when the climate here was considered too cool for full-bodied reds. The cool winds and clay soils here preserve zesty acidity and freshness, while the Napa sun provides richness and ripeness. For complexity, completeness, and balance, we achieve a diversity of ripeness by harvesting the fruit several different times during the ripening period. We whole-cluster press all of the grapes, settled in tank for 24 hours, then ferment and age the wine in seasoned French oak barrels. This year, since the wine was already very rich, we did no battonage (lees stirring). We allowed two-fifths of the barrels to go through malo-lactic fermentation. The wine was never racked, fined, or cold-stabilised.”
Matthiasson Napa Valley White Wine 2013
17.5/20, Jancis Robinson MW -“A sense of elegance, energy, and complexity with nuance. Mouth-washing acidity with a focus on freshness. Both delicious and pretty. Flavours of citrus blossom, bitter almond, and fresh melon. Accents of flint and oyster shell. Pleasant, lightly textural palate. Beautifully done.”
Matthiasson Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
94 points, Decanter -“A gentle mulberry note joins ripe, aromatic plum on the nose. In the mouth the fruit is ripe and warming, but has a wonderful streak of freshness and vivid grip. The decision to pick on a date that favours freshness over ripeness, and the restrained oak handling (just 20% new) have paid off completely. This is elegant and beautifully rustic at the same time. Has a touch of Merlot and Petit Verdot in the blend.”