Steve Matthiasson has quietly but quickly become one of the most influential wine growers in Napa Valley. He dreamt of farming his entire life. He became an obsessed gardener and cook while studying philosophy in college. In 1994, while back in grad school for horticulture after three years as a bike messenger/wannabe farmer, he found a job in vineyards and orchards working for a small sustainable agriculture consulting firm. In 1999 he co-authored the California manual on sustainable vineyard practices. In 2002 he started consulting on vineyard practices in Napa. Steve's current clients include Araujo Estate, Spottswoode, Chappellet, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Long Meadow Ranch, Trefethen, Limerick Lane, and others. He still loves the challenge of solving vineyard problems for others, but since 2003 the primary focus has been on our own family farming and winemaking.
Steve's wife Jill Klein Matthiasson runs the business side of their farming and wine business. Jill always felt that the intersection of nature and culture was the most important thing. She studied botany at Penn, researched ancient farming techniques in Israel, and studied traditional methods for soil health in grad school at UC Davis. She pioneered “farmer to farmer” networking for sustainability in the early 90s while working for a family farming non-profit, and ran programs training farmers on direct sales, such as CSAs and farmers markets, before local food had the momentum that it has now. As the family grew, that passion translated into more local action, like teaching cooking from the garden classes in the local grade school, and serving on the Napa Farmer’s Market board.
"Meet the newest vintage of our fan-favorite Chardonnay. Made from certified organic vines that grow behind our home in Napa, this wine pairs beautifully with lighter summer fare from crab cakes to chicken salad, lobster with drawn butter or even grilled pork chops.
Golden Delicious apples, yellow peaches, musk melon, and honey greet the nose and persist through to the palate. Medium acidity is balanced by pleasant fleshiness, finishing very clean with a hint of minerality.
For complexity, completeness, and balance, we achieve a diversity of ripeness by using the traditional method of harvesting the fruit a number of different times during the ripening period. The earlier harvests contribute acidity and minerality, and the later harvests contribute flesh and richness. We whole-cluster press all of the grapes, then ferment and age the wine in seasoned French oak barrels, with only native yeast. No battonage (lees stirring) or racking. We allow two-fifths of the barrels to go through malo-lactic fermentation.
The moderate alcohol and mouthwatering acidity that is a trademark of that vineyard is very much present, balanced by a riper luscious creaminess.
In 2011 we leased the Linda Vista Vineyard. The West Oak Knoll area where we live is one of the classic Chardonnay spots in Napa, going back to the 60s, when the climate here was considered too cool for full-bodied reds. The cool winds and clay soils here preserve zesty acidity and freshness, while the Napa sun provides richness and ripeness. Leasing the vineyard and farming it ourselves gave us the control to feel comfortable producing a challenging and iconic variety like Chardonnay, where crafting “balance” means walking a razor’s edge in a genre with such iconic examples. The vines were originally planted in 1989 by Beringer, and we’re proud to take our turn caring for them as the vineyard reaches a true maturity." -- Winery