Friday, January 5, 2018

Celebrate Napa's Newest Organically Certified Vines From Matthiasson Wines

For many years, Steve Matthiasson has been a leading viticultural light in Napa (and sometimes Sonoma), where he's tended some of the most famous organic vineyards. His clients at Premiere Viticultural Services (which he founded with his business partner Garrett Buckland) include a who's who list of top tier Napa clients. Among them are Eisele Vineyard (formerly Araujo Estate), Acumen (a new label from Atlas Peak I'll be writing more about soon) and Spottswoode.

On the winemaking front, he's been one of the "cool kids" of Napa for wine-buying hipsters from the Mission and the main man sought out by somms for the delicate flavors he strives for in his wines.

On top of that, the Matthiasons also represent the dream of the hardworking young couple able to find a tiny corner of Napa to buy a vineyard and a house in and then - wowsa - make it in the wine business (without having a family fortune tucked in their back pocket already).

When the Matthiasson were starting their winery, Steve and his wife Jill Klein Matthiasson got the property certified organic. But they made a simple mistake, and lost their CCOF certification. Now after a hiatus of several years, they've come full circle on their Oak Knoll Matthiasson Vineyards property - going back to organic certification (through Stellar Organic Certifications, the organic side of Demeter USA) for the vines that they tend and make into wine under their Matthiasson Wines label.

There, on their home vines, they explore lesser known varietals - Refosco, Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano, and Schiopettino - as well as familiar faces - Cabernet France, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

But the Matthiasons have gone further than their own vines, sourcing grapes selectively from some of the other, fine organic sites in Napa. Count Harms Vineyard (a Biodynamic vineyard that Matthiasson now farms) and Yount Mill (certified organic since the early 1990s) among them. Altogether, they use fruit from a total of 10 vineyards - of which 5 are certified organic and 2 are in transition to organic certification.

Check out this list of the wines from certified vines below. (And note that since organic certification takes three years to achieve, you can count on 2015 and 2016 vintages to have been farmed organically as well as the 2017 vintages.)

Certified Grapes

• Cabernet Franc (2017)

• Cabernet Sauvignon - "Dead Fred" (2017)

• Chardonnay - Harms Vineyard (all vintages)

• Chardonnay - Linda Vista (2017)

• Pinot Meunier - Yount Mill (all vintages)*

• Refosca (2017)

• Ribolla Gialla (2017)

• Schioppettino (2017)

• Semillon - Yount Mill (all vintages)*

• Sweet Vermouth (sold out)

The process of getting certified isn't that much thank you to Steve and Jill and all the other people who worked on this for making the extra effort.

Can't wait to try them all!

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