Corner 103 owner and founder Lloyd Davis has been in the wine industry for a number of years. As the former head winemaker for Viansa winery, he won over 400 wine competitions — many for “best in class.” Now, as the proprietor of his own establishment, Lloyd seeks to share his years of experience in his casual corner tasting room; to “create an educational environment where his guest’s would feel comfortable learning all aspects of his wines in a friendly, non-intimidating way.” One of the best ways to do that is to craft “un-intimidating” wines. And when it comes to the bold California Cabernet grape, “intimidating” is just what a lot of folks think. But sourcing from the proper location and knowing how to work with the fruit, Lloyd and the Corner 103 winemaking team have done just that…
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.
According to Henry Matthes, owner and proprietor of Matthes Vineyards, this Rhône-style blend is a bit of an anomaly. His intention is to always focus on Grenache Blanc, using just enough Marsanne to give the wine some backbone and structure. But due to a difficult growing season in 2014 in which much of the Marsanne failed, Henry and his vineyard team ended up grafting Grenache Blanc onto much of the Marsanne rootstock. Somehow, as Henry says, “The remaining Marsanne grew with unexpected vigor, yielding a huge crop of perfect fruit.” And so it is that he was able to create, for his portfolio, this unique white blend. “A serendipitous event for sure,” he adds.
“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.