I learned about Matthes Vineyard through winemaker-friend Cynthia Cosco of Passaggio, who sourced her Grenache Blanc and Marsanne grapes from Henry Matthes for her 2016 vintage of Grenache Blanc. In fact, she didn’t just source those grapes, she struck a deal with Henry — in exchange for his exclusive fruits to use for her own Grenache Blanc, she would help him make his 2016 vintage. The difference between the Passaggio and Matthes styles is that Henry prefers to age his Grenache Blanc in oak, whereas Cindy prefers all stainless. So it takes more time for the Matthes Vineyards estate wines to be ready for release. So, today I present to you a sneak peek at Matthes Vineyards 2016 Grenache Blanc. 

I have known Henry for a few years now. We have mutual friends which brought us together a few years back…He’s a really nice person and very giving. We hit it off right away and have remained really good friends. –Cindy Cosco, Passagio Wine

About the Wine: The Matthes Vineyards 2016 Grenache Blanc is made from 77% Grenache Blanc and 23% Marsanne grapes harvested from the Matthes Estate Vineyards in Sonoma County. As the owner of a small estate, Henry gets assistance from other winemakers, who custom crush and ferment his grapes. 2016 celebrates the first vintage partnered with Cindy.

The Grenache Blanc and Marsanne grapes were brought to Cindy’s crush pad simultaneously. Here, the Passaggio team pressed all the grapes together, creating the final blend pretty much immediately. The juices then fermented in stainless steel, after which it was racked into neutral white barrels, stirred on the lees until a few months before bottling. The bottled wine then returned to the Matthes Estate where it is continuing to age in bottle before release.
13.6% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork and gentle scents of under-ripe stone fruits, citrus zest, and cedar chips seep into the air. On the pour, the Matthes Vineyards 2016 Grenache Blanc is nearly clear, with just a faint glow of a champagne-shade yellow. In the glass, it’s ever so slightly richer in color. Once the wine is in the glass, you can’t not smell this Grenache Blanc: apples and pears brushed with butter, chamomile flowers, drips of honey, and, with a deep inhale, a subtle hint of acidity. Swirl the glass and open up a wave of freshness — literally — as the added scent of a fresh sea breeze along with a touch of softness from some oakiness adds itself to the fruit and floral bouquet.

On the palate, the Matthes Vineyards 2016 Grenache Blanc is smooth on the tonuge with a a juicy acidity that starts as subtly as expected (based on the nose), climaxes at the mid-palate, and slowly dissipates, leaving just the tiniest tingle at the top of the tip of the tongue. Primary flavors are of those stone fruits (under-ripe mango, apricot), brushed with that butter, and just a slight hint of flint from that essence of cedar chips. The aftertaste is a culmination of these scents and flavors — like a slightly over-baked stone-fruit pastry.

Food Pairing: I paired the Matthes Vineyards 2016 Grenache Blanc with vegetarian meatball pasta with a spicy heirloom tomato sauce. I was actually not a fan of this sauce until I had a sip of the Grenache Blanc along with it. Not only did the wine dissipate the almost too-spicy sauce, it somehow became more juicy because of those spices, bringing forward those fruit flavors along with a nutty-sweetness (almost like lychee). Meanwhile the carby pasta brought out some of that background oakiness, softening the wines palate profile, while the meatless meatballs, too, brought out a hint of nuttiness. A serendipitous pairing to be sure.

Note: Serve this wine slightly chilled to enjoy all the nuances in flavor and texture. However, be careful not to over-chill as this will mask all these layers just mentioned.

More Info: I received the Matthes Vineyards 2016 Grenache Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers Henry!) Retail: TBD. You can find Matthes Vineyards wines at The Girl & The Fig and The Sonoma Grille restaurants as well as Sonoma Best bottle shop. To purchase online, please visit squareup.com/store/MatthesVineyards. For any inquiries, reach out to vineyards@matthes.com.

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