2009 Matthiasson White

You want to know what kind of white wine from California, Napa Valley no less, can get jaded, world-weary wine professionals to prick up their tastebuds and get excited? The answer is the Matthiasson White. The 2009 Matthiasson White was just released, I tasted it and now understand completely the hoopla surrounding this wine. When a white is able to combine richness of fruit with underlying acidity to lift the fruit from beginning to end, that is a good sign. Then when said white also displays complex aromatics and a voluptuous mouthfeel, that’s when the Happy Dance begins. I am by no means jaded or world-weary, I still have a lot to learn, but it is easy to fall trap to the blasé feelings for yet another non-descript California white (yeah, I’m thinking Chardonnay). Fortunately for me, working here at TWH, I am not inundated by such wines, but even so, I am presented with and taste my fair share of so-so whites. Then comes along something different, unique and exotic and I feel compelled to let you all know about it. Here’s the skinny on Matthiasson…
Steve Matthiasson has an interesting vantage point within the wine industry. Although he’s been making wine for years, winemaking is not his full-time gig. Steve is a vineyard manager for several prominent wineries. His clients have included Spottswoode, Chappellet, Duckhorn, Staglin, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, just to name a few. Steve’s contacts with such Napa Valley luminaries as well as his intimate knowledge of the fruit out there gives him an edge to assembling the finest material with which to make his own wines. The 2009 White from Matthiasson is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano. The Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Fruilano come from vineyards located in southern Napa, while the Semillon comes from 60-70 year old vines planted in Yountville. It’s a wine that is a study in contrasts. On one hand it is zippy and super bright, on the other it has fat and richness. Not to make a direct comparison, but in the spirit of “if you like this one, you might like that one”, I would point to our beloved Arbe Garbe as a point of reference in terms of the interplay of body and texture. That interplay is precisely what intrigues and captivates the palate. It is no wonder that the Matthiasson White is the darling of so many top-notch Bay Area restaurants, gracing dynamic wine-lists at places like Nopa, Range, Frances, and Baker and Banker. Gee, I guess that makes me a front-runner. Oh, well, so be it. Good wine is good wine, and we all should be drinking more of it.Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, California, Napa

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