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Posted by Chris LaBranche on


Winemaker Steve Matthiasson got his start in wine as an advisor to some of California’s most revered wineries. Yet he found himself dreaming of his own estate, where he could work naturally with obscure Italian grape varieties, and still make complex, top-tier California wines. He and his wife managed to secure a 5 acre property in Napa–no easy feat these days–where he planted things like Ribolla Gialla, Sémillon, and Tokai Friulano. This was a seriously risky proposition for a new winemaker on such prime real estate. Yet, because of both an evolving consumer base looking for more exploration and chiefly because of an unrivaled attention to detail, the popularity of the wines took off. Matthiasson was named California winemaker of the year in 2014 and finding his wines today is nearly impossible. For good reason, from the Tendu wines like these to the top of the line cuvées, they are spectacular expressions of California wine that represent the work of one of the stars of American viticulture.


Salty minerality is the first thing that greets you on the nose, followed closely by notes of pear, slate, and wet cement. It’s stony, light, and crisp on the palate with notes of apricot pit and sea salt. An obvious pairing with seafood, try it with our recipe for Chilled Seafood Salad. Tip: Use a combination of fresh and tinned fish makes prep for this recipe super simple and very fast.


This white is an excellent example of what makes the Matthiasson estate exemplary. Comprised entirely of Vermentino, this white is impeccably balanced, low in alcohol, and supremely fresh. The tropical fruit of the Vermentino is balanced beautifully by its searing, saline minerality. It is fermented in old barrels with native yeasts before being bottled unfiltered. The large bottle is a not so subtle hint–this easy drinking yet rather complex white will go quickly, and it will pair beautifully with a wide variety of foods.

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