Style: Dry, Fruity, Medium Bodied
Matthiasson Red Wine Napa Valley ’16
This wine is Steve and Jill’s attempt at crafting a classic balanced and age-worthy red wine. 2016 was a mild year, warm with an early start, but never too hot and the Southern Napa vineyards held plenty of freshness and high-toned aromatics. As always the wine is defined by its typical bright red fruits, mineral character, cedar and tobacco aromas, but this year with more rich black fruits and graphite. And there is the trademark structure for aging, which is why we hold the wine an additional three years in bottle before release. This wine will continue to develop for many years.
The blend is 54 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, 14 percent Cabernet Franc, and 2 percent Petit Verdot.
The fruit was fermented at low temperatures in small, open-top tanks and punched down by hand one to three times per day, depending on how the wine tasted during the fermentations. Maceration was 18-24 days. The wine was partially co-fermented (fermented together as one lot), and the remainder racked and blended before malolactic fermentation, so that the wine could marry from the very beginning—much magic happens during fermentation, and co-fermenting can create a seamless wine in a way that doesn’t always happen with blending after the fact.
The wine was aged in 50% new French oak (Taransaud), and 50% older French oak barrels. The wine was given 20 months of elevage (aging in barrel).
The pH is 3.65, TA is 6.3, and alcohol is 13.5%. 370 cases produced.
The Red Hen Merlot Vineyard, along Dry Creek, at the very top of the creek’s alluvial fan, is a warm site with very light and thin soils, composed of a foot of silty loam sitting on top of at least 20 feet of pure cobble. The vines are naturally small berried and early ripening.
Upstream from the Red Hen, the Meadowbrook Cabernet Sauvignon receives the nightly air current off of Mt. Veeder, which also blocks the intense late afternoon sun. This makes it the cool foil to the warmer Red Hen. The coolness and sun protection lets the fruit develop and maintain an unusually strong backbone of acidity and tannin. Every year, on schedule, as the nights get cold, the leaves change color and drop before any other vineyard in the area, signaling that the fruit is ready to harvest. The vineyard sits on old creek deposits, and the spots selected for harvest are on shallow clay with coarse sand, over dry cobbles and silt. The vineyard provides structure and firm acidity.
The Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are from the Matthiasson Vineyard, and the Malbec is from one of one of Steve’s clients in St. Helena.
The Dead Fred Vineyard in Coombsville sits on a rocky volcanic knoll, with soil of gray volcanic ash and rylolite (compressed ash) rocks. Its south-western exposure causes it to pick up heat during the day, and the proximity to the mouth of the Napa Valley keeps the nights cool. This combination of volcanic soil, daytime heat, and nighttime cool creates fruit that is uncommonly structured and ripe, yet fresh and full of minerality. Matthiason leased it and started farming it organically in 2012.
About the Winery
Matthiasson is a family endeavor, the effort of Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson, and their two young sons. Steve & Jill both have had life-long careers in sustainable agriculture, and they apply those ideals of balance, restraint, and respect for the individual—and for the whole—to their wine.
Production at Matthiasson is simple but careful. This concept is central to the tradition of viticulture and winemaking. Respect for this tradition forms the core of their work. To that end, their hands literally touch every vine and every bottle.
Matthiasson moved to Napa in 2002. In December 2006, they took their wine plans another step forward and bought a small parcel tucked behind a subdivision just west of the city of Napa. They began replanting the property’s 3 1/2 acres of vineyard to an initial lot of Ribolla Gialla – traced back to Josko Gravner’s vineyard in Friuli — Merlot, Refosco, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2009 Matthiasson had the chance to plant a vineyard on the West slopes of the town of Sonoma. The Michael Mara vineyard is now one of the most sought after sights for Chardonnay in California. Steve also farms a few parcels in Napa for their signature blends.
These blends have revolutionized the idea of thinking outside the single varietal and sourcing grape varietals from their most appropriate locales up and down the Valley. Steve has also redefined the term “ripeness” in California in terms of picking wine grapes. Matthiasson currently picks 3-4 weeks before most of his neighbors. However, as each vintage moves on, there are more and more of farmers following the lead of Steve Matthiasson and following the trail that he is blazing through California
Check out more at: Matthiasson