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Wine of the Day
- Written by Fred Swan
- Tuesday, 15 October 2013 20:22
My first experience with Matthiasson wines was six or seven years ago. Jill and Steve Matthiasson hosted a crowd of wine bloggers/writers/tweeters to an al fresco buffet and tasting at their home/orchard/vineyard in southwestern Napa Valley. I was just getting settled in—finding a glass—when William Tisherman grabs me by the elbow and leads me to a chilled bottle of white wine. “You have to try this,” he insisted. “And tell me what it is.”
Talk about being set up to fail. The wine was every bit of delicious but there was no way in... Napa I was going to guess the blend. It was Matthiasson’s now famous mélange of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friuliano. Today the cool wine people talk about that wine like it’s a normal thing. And it still isn’t. But back then, many California wine folks, myself included, could have been easily convinced Ribolla Gialla was either an Italian chef or something the World Health Organization works to eradicate.
Matthiasson wines in general were under the radar back then. That didn’t last long though and today they’re getting reams of complimentary coverage from wine cognoscenti such as Jon Bonné and Alder Yarrow. Food and Wine Magazine named Steve Matthiasson one of their “2012 Winemakers of the Year.” Yet the wines are still reasonably priced for Napa Valley.
The 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard is perhaps the primest of examples. It sells for $25. In my view, it’s a case buy. It’s... wait a minute. I’m going to buy a case myself right now! Okay, I got mine. Now I’ll describe it.
Gorgeous aromas of pear, baking spice and Meyer lemon pith waft from the glass of lemon-green wine. The palate is lithe and medium+ in body with flavors that keep coming in acidity-driven waves. There’s crisp pear and green apple, pineapple, peach and spice. The finish is long and clean and demands you take another sip.
After my evaluation and note writing, I enjoyed the wine, which I had purchased at retail, with my dinner of grilled giant squid dipped in Kewpie mayo and Shichimi togarashi. It was an ideal combo but the wine will go well with most any light seafood or chicken dish. But it doesn’t necessarily need food. Nor does it need more time in the bottle, but I suspect it will age delightfully. I’m looking forward to letting a couple of bottles from my case cellar for a while. I’ll get back to you in seven-plus years to let you know how that's going. I suspect the other ten bottles won’t see 2014. Drink now through 2020. Very Highly Recommended.
2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
Rating: Very Highly Recommended
Drink: now through 2020
Release Date: July, 2013
Production: 1,024 cases
Retail Price: $25.00
Winemaker: Steve Matthiasson
Origin: Linda Vista Vineyard, Oak Knoll District AVA, Napa Valley
Fermentation: 2nd & 3rd use oak barrels, no malolactic fermentation, half of the barrels unstirred
Aging: 9 months in barrel
Decanting: Not recommended
Temperature: 50º - 52º F
Food Pairing: Grilled ika with Kewpie mayonnaise and Shichimi togarashi
Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.
The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.
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