SF Gate

Winemaker of the Year:
Steve Matthiasson digs for Napa’s roots

Then there’s Matthiasson’s day job. He has become one of Napa’s top viticultural consultants, with a client list that has included Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Araujo Estate, Spottswoode and Hall. When a vintner wants more flavor at lower sugar levels, Matthiasson is the one on speed dial. And he has achieved that while evangelizing for a reversal of the past two decades’ trend toward overly ripe flavors and high alcohols.

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Food & Wine

Winemakers of the Year: 2012

Napa Valley: Steve Matthiasson

If you want to be a terrific winemaker, consider becoming a grape-grower first. That has been Steve Matthiasson’s approach; he was a sought-after vineyard consultant for many years before starting his eponymous winery. It has quickly become a source for some of Napa Valley’s most remarkable wines, like the 2010 Matthiasson White ($35), a focused blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Sémillon and Tocai Friulano—a surprising mix of varietals in the heart of Cabernet country. The inspiration for it came from a trip to Italy’s Friuli region, about which Matthiasson says, “I realized, tasting these Friulian whites, that you didn’t have to throw out richness to have freshness. You can have both in the same wine.”

With his grapes-come-first sensibility, his skill at balancing lusciousness with crisp intensity and his fascination with little-known varieties, Matthiasson is helping to change the Napa Valley paradigm.

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Steve Matthiasson

Antonio Galloni

92 Points: Convexity Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark raspberries, smoke, tobacco, rose petals and cinnamon jump from the glass in the 2010 Convexity Cabernet Sauvignon. A juicy, explosive wine, the 2010 boasts gorgeous depth and textural richness throughout, all while maintaining expressive aromatics an plenty of freshness. This is a beautiful wine from winemaker Steve Matthiasson.


Antonio Galloni

93+ 2010 Numbers Game Cabernet Sauvignon

Plum, dark cherry, blood orange, white truffle and cloves meld together in the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Numbers Game. Rich and seductive on the palate, the 2010 boasts tons of persistence and volume, along with impeccable balance. Smoke, iron and licorice notes add an element of gravitas on the finish.

2010 Numbers Game is sold out, the 2011 is not yet rated. This wine is exclusively available to mailing list members upon annual release.

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Numbers Game Cabernet Sauvignon

Wall Street Journal

Napa’s Retro Dudes

Mr. Matthiasson works as a vineyard consultant for top Cabernet producers such as Araujo and Spottswoode. He seems, in alternating sentences, both intensely earnest and offhandedly wry, a combination that makes a little more sense when I learn he was born in Canada. Under his own name he makes a few hundred cases of one of the most interesting California white wines I’ve ever tasted, a blend of Sauvignon, Semillon, Tocai Friulano and Ribolla Gialla, an ancient grape variety from Friuli, as well as a superb red blend.

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