Matthiasson, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

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Via The Producer: 

+ BY THE NUMBERS: The blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol is 13.5%. 1926 cases produced.

+ PERSPECTIVE: In the tradition of Cabernet Sauvignon, ours is a blended wine and includes a small amount of other Bordeaux varieties to complete the wine. For complexity and balance our Cab is composed of fruit from six vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. The three AVAs are Coombsville for structure and black fruit, Rutherford for savory Cabernet characters and bright fruit, and Oak Knoll for soft fruit. It is a Napa Cab of the old school, age-worthy, complex, and begging for a steak off the grill.

+ PROFILE: The nose shows abundant dark and red fruits, lots of cherry along with blackberry, cranberry, mulberry, and framed with hints of mineral/herbal characters such as graphite, cedar, and pencil shavings. The palate is vibrant and fresh, with a good amount of age-worthy tannin and beautiful acidity. Decanting is highly recommended.

+ VINIFiCATION: The fruit was fermented in small tanks and either punched down or pumped over twice per day, depending on flavor; we don’t strive for a high rate of extraction, instead choosing to preserve the freshness and high-toned aromatics. Fermentation temperatures are cool, so the fermentations were long and slow, mostly lasting around two weeks. The wine was pressed at dryness, blended immediately after ML, and aged for 20 months in a combination of mostly used and a few new barrels (<20% new French oak).

+ ABOUT THE VINTAGE 2020: It was a drought year, which for us can be a very positive thing, because vines adapt to dry conditions by producing less fruit with more structure and concentration. The dry conditions told us that we were going to have a lower crop of very powerful wines, so we focused in the vineyards on supporting the vines and taking advantage of a golden opportunity to make a special age-worthy vintage.

Besides the dry weather, the remainder of the growing season was nice and consistent, no major weather extremes. And then, of course, we had dry lightning and the fires hit.

Winemakers worry about fires because the smoke on the grapes can taint the wine. We assessed the wind patterns and the ripeness of our fruit and decided to start harvesting after the first set of fires. Fortunately, we are in the southern part of Napa, and the wind cooperated with us, pushing the smoke away to the north-east, so (miraculously) we were able to harvest all our fruit over the next several weeks with no smoke damage. By the time the second fire hit we were finished with harvest, and it was a good thing, because that fire blew smoke right into our vineyards, which would have wiped us out if we hadn’t already finished.

Fortunately, the smoke doesn’t hurt the vines at all, and you don’t need to worry about any carryover into the next year.

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