• New California Icon:  2018 Matthiasson Dead Fred Cabernet

    New California Icon: 2018 Matthiasson Dead Fred Cabernet

    “If one person stands to rewrite the trajectory of California wine—in Napa's luxurious heart, no less—it is Steve Matthiasson.”
     
    — Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle

    Steve Matthiasson, a farmer turned viticulturist and winemaker,  is a leading figure in the wave following the Robert Parker era of high-octane wines. He produced organic, low-alcohol wines before the U.S. natural wine movement had a name and now serves as a mentor to California's next wave of growers and winemakers.
     
    Dead Fred Cabernet Sauvignon especially stands out for its signature notes of black fruit and graphite. Steve has farmed this vineyard in Coombsville, situated at the mouth of Napa Valley, since 2012. He’s drawn to these types of vineyards—ones with cooler-temperature sites and rocky soils—for the freshness and structure they provide.


    Last year, I wrote a story for Wine & Spirits Magazine on California winemakers farming white grape varieties for skin-contact wines. Steve has an affinity for Italian grape varieties, and he talked about growing Cabernet Sauvignon in comparison. While he allows Ribolla Gialla full sun exposure to fully mature the skins, he’s more protective of his Cabernet, keeping the vines in balance with minimal leafing, so the fruit is sheltered from Napa's Mediterranean climate.

    Matthiasson's Cabernets are hand-harvested in small lots, gothrough a long and slow fermentation, and age for 20 months in mostly used oak. Extraction is kept to a minimum to preserve freshness and high-toned aromatics—a thread that runs through the entire lineup!
    Posted by Sydney Love