Brick & Mortar is an exciting new wine project we are betting will be getting more and more attention once their miniscule production levels increase for wider distribution. But for now, only a few select places, mostly top Bay Area restaurants, are able to offer their wines – and we’re one of the lucky ones!
We were introduced to Brick & Mortar by way of one of David’s tasting groups. The winemaker, Matthew Iaconis, met with us at the store to share his story and pour his wines. By the time he left the building, David and I were conspiring to figure out how much we should buy! The wines are compelling and Matthew’s confidence and enthusiasm convinced us that he is a winemaker we want to get in with on the ground floor, so to speak.
Matthew, a native Californian, played football for UC Davis where he was studying Atmospheric Science – he wanted to be an astronaut! It was also at UC Davis that he took an introductory course on winemaking; this changed everything for him. After college, Matthew worked at wineries here and abroad. Most recently, he has worked with the Antinori family in Napa Valley. It is through this connection that he was able to acquire the fruit he needed to start his own project. Working with fruit from Cougar Rock Vineyard, a high elevation vineyard in the Atlas Peak appellation, Matthew achieves balance and finesse with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in what is typically thought of as Cab Country. The elevation and exposition of the vineyard allows for daytime sun and cool nights, perfectly suited for these Burgundian varietals. In addition, Matthew sources Pinot Noir from a vineyard on the other side of the Valley up on Spring Mountain.
The 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir is superb. It is quite delicate and subtle in the fruit department, yet the strawberry flavors of Pinot Noir come across. Using the saignée method of bleeding juice off of his two Napa Valley Pinot Noirs, Matthew then places half in stainless steel and the other in neutral barrel. It is a smart approach, preserving both texture and freshness in the wine. The pale, pale pink color, by the way, is divine. (55 cases produced)
The 2013 Chardonnay combines texturally rich fruit with a lifted palate feel. Neither overblown nor heavy, this is a composed Chardonnay that showcases sun-kissed fruit in a more discreet fashion. Barrel-aged, but only in a third new oak, this is a citrus-laden Chardonnay that accentuates acidity and stoniness on the finish. (260 cases produced)
Rounding out the trio of Brick & Mortar wines is the 2012 Pinot Noir. Put aside any pre-existing notions of Napa Valley Pinot Noir. This is mountain fruit – it has depth and reveals layers of flavors. The 2012 Pinot Noir is reflective of the character of Cougar Rock Vineyard. Matthew uses two blocks within the vineyard that run east/west. The soils are a mixture of gravelly loam and dusty red clay with extensive granite rock strewn about the parcel. For this wine Matthew put the grapes through an extended cold-soak with native yeast fermentation and then aged the wine in once used French oak barrels. His intention was to let the vineyard shine through the wine. We appreciated the soft, rounded texture and savored the deep, red berry fruit that was framed by earthier notes. Like the other two wines of Brick & Mortar, the 2012 Pinot Noircombines a pleasurable fruit presence with elegance. All of the wines sit lively on the palate. (110 cases produced) – Anya Balistreri