“Our wine business is the smallest licensed/permitted Vineyard/Winery in Sonoma Valley,” says Henry Matthes, proprietor of Matthes Vineyards. It must be true, the Matthes Vineyards sits on a 1/3 acre parcel of land with just shy of 700 vines on the property. Though Henry started out as a grape seller, his modest vineyard now produces between 100 – 150 cases under his own name. Small-lot, indeed, so it was a privilege when Henry invited me to taste his wines.
About the Wine: The Matthes Vineyards 2014 Grenache Blanc is made from 77% Grenache Blanc and 23% Marsanne grapes harvested from the Matthes Estate Vineyards in Sonoma Valley. “We appreciate the magic that Marsanne brings to the Grenache Blanc when aged in neutral oak for 7 to 8 months,” says Henry.
Because the Matthes Estate is so small, Henry hires other winemakers to custom crush his grapes. The 2014 vintage was created The Wine Foundry in Napa, and then moved back to the Matthes Estate, after bottling, for aging and selling.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle and stick your nose just above the neck. Deep breath in and smell a fun combination of peaches, nectarines, pencil shavings, and the sun warming a dew-dripped grass. On the pour, the Matthes Vineyards 2014 Grenache Blanc is a gentle glow of sunk-kissed yellow, settling into the glass as an iridescent amber. Initial aromas are quite fruit forward: yellow nectarine, agave nectar, sweet melon. Swirl and the wine reveals a bit of boxy wood, a thin but assertive acidity, and the skins of apple and pear.
On the palate this Grenache Blanc is downright juicy with fresh green apples. There’s a background of soft nuts like cashews, a subtle zest of citrus fruit, and a minimal amount of texture that gently blankets the tongue as thinly as tissue paper.
Take the wine and hold it in the mouth. Breathe out of the nostrils — that boxiness, that slight bit of texture, comes with a little “stink” too. It took me a minute to figure this one out, but it’s the aromatics of the nut meat of a rambutan. And that subtle meaty-papery taste is what’s left on the breath after a fun-filled finish.
Food Pairing: I paired the Matthes Vineyards 2014 Grenache Blanc with Caribbean-spiced fish tacos, fajita-style veggies, and black beans with cheese. The cheese — with all it’s gooey amazingness — brought out an even lighter side to the wine, giving it a bit of effervescence. Meanwhile the utter juiciness in the wine did well to calm down the spice-filled tacos.
Perfect pairing? The Matthes Vineyards 2014 Grenache Blanc could certainly stand alongside a more “elevated” meal. But, if you’re in the mood for tacos (which I totally was), then pour yourself a glass muchacha.
More Info: I received the Matthes Vineyards 2014 Grenache Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers Henry!) Retail: $40. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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