Napa wines are like a Ferrari – you can drive at 200 miles an hour but you don’t have to. Some winemakers have the tendency to go over-ripe in Napa, but we have the freedom to make any kind of wines we want.California’s wine industry is still developing and there’s room for your own personal vision within it. We aren’t shackled by rules.The fruit that goes into my Cab is protected from the sun to avoid the grapes getting over-ripe and is picked early to retain freshness. It’s red fruit dominant with herbal accents. My Cabernet is very different to your average Napa Cab – it’s more like the Cabs that were made before the Parker era as the alcohol is never above 13%. The wines in the Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976 were all around 12% alcohol.STEVE MATTHIASSON
The Matthiassons stuck unyieldingly to the style of wines that they wanted to make and they were not able to sell them during the era of Parker Points. Some of the Cabernets of the past have been kept for several years after realease because they wouldn’t sell. Enforced bottle ageing I suggest, his warm smile and chuckle is typical of his sunny disposition. It is somewhat unusual for a producer that is so grower-focused (for want of a better term) he is incredibly market savvy and aware. He speaks at length about the judgement in Paris wines that pre-dated Parker points wines. He is all too aware of the techtonic shift that is seemingly almost upon us and describes millenials palates as being very different to baby boomers’ palates.
The Matthiassons make a dizzying array of wines utilising some pretty obsure varieties and methods. Schioppettino, Viognier (late harvest), Semillion, Mouvedre, Carignan are amongst some of the more obscure varieties in their wheelhouse. As mentioned already though we are looking at Matthiasson mostly through the prism of Chardonnay. We love how they communicate and have used their words in lieu of reviews. STSWine