Wine of the Week: Matthiasson 2013 ‘Linda Vista’ Napa Valley Chardonnay

Steve Matthiasson is quickly becoming a household name amongst wine lovers – he is making some of the best and most compelling wines today in California. A farmer at his core, Steve Matthiasson grows many things in addition to grapes, and is a highly sought-after viticultural consultant. His list of credentials is long, and he was even called the SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year.

I recently attended a trade tasting where Matthiasson was pouring his wines, and I was lucky enough to meet him and taste through his current offerings. I was particularly drawn to his Linda Vista Napa Valley Chardonnay, an affordable and beautifully balanced wine. It’s rich and flavorful, with acidity that’s balanced by body – a no-brainer for the Winelandia shop. Fermented and aged in 100% neutral French oak, from which it picked up texture and creaminess without any oak flavor (my favorite kind of chardonnay!).

The fruit comes from the Linda Vista vineyard in Oak Knoll, a plot of vines that are farmed by Matthiasson but owned by someone else. The vineyard is literally across the way from his farm, which I’m sure makes it easier to keep a close eye on the health of the vines and fruit. The care taken in the vineyard really shows in the wine, and it’s the finest example of an affordable California chardonnay that I’ve found all year.

This wine is SOLD OUT.

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Winemaker:  Steve Matthiasson
Bio: The SF Chronicle’s 2013 Winemaker of the Year and nominated for a James Beard award in 2014, Steve Matthiasson is one of Napa Valley’s top viticultural consultants. With over 20 years of experience, he is certainly no newcomer. He is known for championing Italian grape varieties in California, producing wines from grapes like tocai-friulano, refosco, and ribolla gialla. A Whittier college graduate and former San Francisco bike messenger, Steve now lives on his 5 acre Napa Valley farm with his wife and children.
Region: US>California>Napa Valley
Vineyard: Linda Vista Vineyard. Clay soil.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Aging: Neutral French oak
Production Notes: Whole cluster pressed, settled for 24 hours in tank, then fermented in neutral oak barrels. During aging, half of the barrels were stirred once, which added creaminess while still preserving freshness and minerality. 2/5 of the barrels were allowed to go through malolactic fermentation due to the high acidity of the 2013 harvest. Never racked, fined, or cold stabilized. Sterile filtered before bottling.
Tasting Notes: Notes of apples, stonefruits, and melon, with a slightly honeyed character and mineral backbone. Balanced and elegant, this is a great Chardonnay for a hot summer day!
Food Pairings: Roasted chicken, oysters, cheese plates.

Our 5 Favorite Wines for Summer

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Summer is just around the corner, but the recent warm temperatures may have you thinking it’s been here for a while! The wines on my table have all been light-bodied and served with a chill, and most of them are the perfect pairing for a weeknight barbecue. Here’s a round-up of our five favorite wines for summertime, all available on Winelandia.com!

La Clarine Farm 2013 Rosé, Sierra Foothills – $19
Nothing yells SUMMER like rosé wine. We opened a bottle of this delicious vino from La Clarine Farm last night to enjoy with our hot links, grilled Tartine bread, and arugula salad. It is surprisingly expressive, with intense aromas of grapefruit blossoms and herbs. It’s luscious and textured while still having a zippy acidity to make it thirst-quenching on a warm summer evening, and it’s an absolute steal at this price. All of the La Clarine Farm wines are made in extremely limited quantities, so get some before it’s gone!

Rafa Bernabé 2011 ‘El Morron’ Garnacha, Alicante – $25
The joyful wines of Spanish natural wine producer Rafa Bernabé are a new discovery for us, and we just can’t get enough of them. This juicy Grenache is from the Alicante region in Spain (just off the south-eastern coast), which faces the Mediterranean ocean. ‘El Morron’ is fresh and vibrant, sees no new oak, and has no added sulfites. A really beautiful Spanish wine, perfect for a warm evening.

Jolie-Laide 2013 Trousseau Gris, Russian River Valley – $27
Jolie-Laide is one of our favorite California producers, and these wines cause quite a ruckus when they are released each year. We were lucky enough to get our hands on some of this rare and delicious juice that has earned itself a cult following. The 2013 Trousseau Gris is not quite a white wine and not quite a rosé – it’s a peachy-colored white wine with incredible aromatics and texture. Enjoy this delicious and unique wine with citrus and cilantro-stuffed whole grilled snapper.

Knebel 2012 ‘Von den Terrassen’ Riesling, Mosel – $23
Riesling is a wine often overlooked by casual wine drinkers, but it’s the summertime darling of fanatical wine lovers. It’s fresh, luscious, aromatic, zippy, and great with spicy foods. This particular wine from German producer Knebel is perfectly balanced and priced to be enjoyed any day of the week. It’s dry (but not too dry) with mouth-watering acidity, which will make it great with food or all by itself. An excellent wine for a pool party!

Matthiasson 2013 ‘Linda Vista’ Chardonnay, Napa Valley – $27
Steve Matthiasson makes the best Napa Valley Chardonnay we’ve ever had at a price point that’s hard to beat. This is not your Aunt Mary’s buttery, oaky chardonnay – it’s quite the opposite. This beautiful example of California Chardonnay has notes of citrus, apples, and honey, with balanced acidity. The wine was aged in neutral oak and allowed to undergo partial malolactic fermentation, so it has a touch of texture while still being fresh and juicy. Enjoy with friends on a grassy knoll, preferably under a blue sky full of puffy white clouds.

Interested in purchasing some of our delicious summertime wines? Check out our delivery terms and order yours today!

Wine of the Week: Forlorn Hope 2012 “Ghanima” Merlot, Napa Valley

The Forlorn Hope merlot is SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

Matthew Rorick, the proprietor of Forlorn Hope, has a reputation for making soulful wines from fringe varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Sémillon, and Torrontes. He also makes a damn fine Napa Valley Merlot, which might as well be a fringe variety these days.

Most people associate Merlot with flabby, oaky, homogenous red wine from California, and varietal wines made from Merlot have been out of vogue since the movie “Sideways” came out (the protagonist hated Merlot because it reminded him of his ex). However, Merlot has been the primary grape in famous Bordeaux regions since the 1700’s, making some of the world’s finest wines from St. Emilion and Pomerol. Merlot also has a bit of history in United States, where it was once one of the most popular wines in the country.

Forlorn Hope’s Merlot, I’m told, is reminiscent of the fine Bordeaux-style wines made in Napa Valley in the 1970s. It’s old school in style; slightly herbal with plenty of rich red and black fruit backed up by low alcohol, balanced acidity, and dusty tannins. This wine is aged in 100% neutral French oak and fermented whole cluster, which allows terroir and varietal characteristics to shine.

If you’re a fan of old world red wines but prefer to buy locally grown and produced foods, give this beautiful wine a try. It’s the perfect pairing for grilled chicken, lamb, beef, or grilled sausages.

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Winemaker: Matthew Rorick
Bio: 
Matthew Rorick is a surfer and Gulf war veteran. After the war, he returned to southern California where his grandfather encouraged him to study enology. Forlorn Hope was started in the mid-2000′s. His focus is lost and forgotten varieties, age-worthy white wines, and easy drinking reds. Rorick employs minimalist winemaking methods; he ferments with indigenous yeasts, leaves the grape clusters whole, and only uses small additions of SO2. He was the SF Chronicle’s 2013 Winemaker to Watch, and yes, we are watching!
Region: 
US>California>Napa Valley
Vineyard: 
Hillside vineyard with white volcanic tufa soils
Blend: 
100% Merlot
Aging: 
16 months in neutral oak
Production Notes: 
100% whole-cluster fermented Merlot from a white volcanic tufa-laced hillside vineyard in Napa Valley. Aged 16 months in neutral oak. 47 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: 
This is about as old-school as California merlot can get. Red fruit is complimented by earth, dusty tannins, and a mineral finish. The antithesis of stereotypical “California Merlot”, this wine will seduce the most jaded palates.
Food Pairing: 
Filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce, braised lamb shanks, wild mushroom ragout.

Organic Wine for Weddings and Events

Organic wine for weddings

Did you know that Winelandia can supply organic wine for weddings and events? We’ll work with your menu to create the perfect food and wine pairings for you and your guests on your special day. Whether you’re looking for crowd-pleasing standards like Napa Merlot or French Chardonnay, or fun & obscure wines such as sparkling Gringet from Savoie or Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire, we can get what you’re looking for!

Whether you’re planning a country-themed wedding at a local winery, or a modern event at a swanky hotel, Winelandia can help select wines that will perfectly suit the look and feel of your event. We can work within any budget and scale, providing affordable and delicious wines to suit your taste and menu. Best of all, we make sure your goods are delivered to the venue or caterer on time.

Most importantly, you can be sure all of Winelandia’s selections fit within our strict guidelines for sustainable & organic farming and production. We only sell wines that are made responsibly, in small batches, by real people. Check out our online store to get an idea of what we offer. We have organic and natural wine to fit into every budget.

Winelandia can deliver the wine for your wedding or special event within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. Feel free to reach out to us and receive a free email or over-the-phone consultation! We can be reached at info@winelandia.com.

Organic wine for weddings

 

Wine of the Week: Matthiasson 2014 Rosé

We just got the new 2014 vintage of Matthiasson Rosé back in stock! Click here to purchase.

It’s that time of year – 2014’s rosé wines are hitting the local wine shops and we were lucky enough to get our hands on some of the best pink juice around. Steve Matthiasson makes a great rosé (amongst other things), and he’s also the SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year.

This rosé is one of the most graceful examples we’ve seen come out of California. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Counoise – all Rhône grape varieties – it’s super aromatic, bright, juicy, and begs for food or a sunny spring day. It’s the best rosé we’ve had all year, so you might want to get your hands on some while it’s still around.

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Winemaker:  Steve Matthiasson
Bio: The SF Chronicle’s 2013 Winemaker of the Year and nominated for a James Beard award in 2014, Steve Matthiasson is one of Napa Valley’s top viticultural consultants. With over 20 years of experience, he is certainly no newcomer. He is known for championing Italian grape varieties in California, producing wines from grapes like tocai-friulano, refosco, and ribolla gialla. A Whittier college graduate and former San Francisco bike messenger, Steve now lives on his 5 acre Napa Valley farm with his wife and children.
Region: US>California
Vineyard: Windmill Vineyard (Yolo County) & Kahn Vineyard (Napa Valley)
Blend: 36% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 26% Mouvèdre, and 10% Counoise
Aging: Stainless steel, sur lie
Production Notes: Whole cluster direct-to-press (vin gris). Settled in tank for 24 hours, then fermented and aged sur lie in stainless steel barrels. No racking, fining, or cold stabilization. Wine was sterile filtered prior to bottling to prevent malolactic fermentation. 11.6% alcohol. 1000 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Barely pink in color, gauzy aromas of grapefruit and white peach waft from the glass. On the palate, it is light-bodied and graceful with delicate acidity. This is one of the more elegant and refined rosés we’ve had from California – it’s perfect for a bright and sunny spring day.
Food Pairings: Light salads, fava beans, poached salmon, charcuterie, rabbit

Our 5 Favorite California Producers of 2013

DSC_81562013 was a bit of a renaissance year for wine in California. With American writer and columnist Jon Bonné championing the producers of “New California”, many local wine-makers are producing restraint, elegance, and a sense of terroir in their wines. There has been an influx of new blood, with young guns exploring both experimental and old-world winemaking techniques. Finally, we are able to shop in a wine store and buy a bottle of California wine that doesn’t reek of oak, stewed fruit, or buttered popcorn. Instead we can find mineral, forest sap, chapparal, white flowers and stonefruits.

The year has also been particularly kind to me. Having left my technology career in June to launch Winelandia, 2013 has been a year of soul-searching, experimentation, sometimes failing miserably, 14 hour work days, and exploring things way outside of my comfort zone. Trying to find my place in the wine industry has been trying at times, defeating at it’s worst, and absolutely transcendental at it’s best. That being said, I would much rather ride the wine rollercoaster than the tech dump-truck any day.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 2013, I have most certainly tasted more wines than ever before. Colleen and I take every opportunity we can to go to industry tastings and visit small wineries, unearthing every stone we find in hopes of discovering something new to share with you. The most beautiful thing about wine is the sense of discovery and the sheer joy felt when you take a whiff and a sip of a wine that moves you. That’s what we want to share with you, that feeling of pure love. Wine is love.

Below is a list we have compiled of some of our favorite California producers of 2013, in no particular order. Some of them you may recall from your wine club shipments, seen in local wine shops, or read about in articles in the Chronicle. Next time you buy some wine, look for these producers, because we feel they are making some of the best wines today in California.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJolie-Laide Wines
Winemaker: Scott Schultz
Region: Russian River Valley
Style: Scott only makes a handful of wines (so far), but they unusual, thought-provoking, and unique. We have seen a Russian River Trousseau Gris with texture and unmatched complexity, an elegant Syrah from Phoenix Ranch in the cooler part of Napa, and a super-clean summertime quaffer of a Pinot Gris from the famed Windsor Oaks Vineyard on Chalk Hill. The labels for his wine change every year, are as mysterious and beautiful as his wines. He is definitely a winemaker to watch; his wines are quickly gaining cult status amongst wine geeks and are insane quality for the price.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARyme Cellars
Winemakers: Ryan & Megan Glaab
Region: Russian River Valley
Style: Ryan & Megan (a young married couple) make some really delicious, affordable, interesting wines. The style is both experimental and old-world, much like Jolie-Laide (and wouldn’t you know it, they share a winemaking facility). Some of our favorite wines made by Ryme are their Carneros Pinot Noir – a fresh and juicy wine reminiscent of cru Beaujolais, and their skin-fermented “His” Vermentino – a textural and savory skin-fermented white wine. All of their wines are super clean and beautifully balanced. We can’t wait to see what they have to offer next.
DSC_8196AmByth Estate
Winemaker: Philip Hart
Region: Paso Robles
Style: A Demeter-certified (Biodynamic) estate, Philip and Mary Hart planted their vines in 2004. They make wines in a super-natural way, mostly of Rhone varietals. It can get quite hot in Paso Robles, but the location of their estate is directly in path of the cooling coastal winds coming through the Templeton gap. The day-to-night temperature fluctuations can sometimes swing 50F, which preserves the acidity in the grapes. They tend to pick on the early side, so their wines are very unlike any others in the Paso Robles AVA (which are usually very ripe). Very little, if any, SO2 is used in the production of their wines. While they aren’t cheap, their wines are built for the long-haul. They were recently picked up by a well-respected wine distributor, so you can expect to see more AmByth wines in local shops. We highly recommend the Priscus white blend and the Mourvedre.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALa Clarine Farm
Winemaker: Hank Beckmeyer
Region: Sierra Foothills
Style: Hank Beckmeyer follows the ‘do nothing’ farming methodology of Masanobu Fukuoka, and his wines scream terroir as a result. Hank works mostly with Rhone varietals, both from his own farm and purchased from other vineyards. I can remember the first time I tasted his Cedarville Mourvedre; that was a wine that changed and excited me. I never knew that a grape which usually produces a rich, powerful, and extracted wine could make a wine with such femininity and finesse. We also love his white wines, which have so much character they can taste totally different from day to day. La Clarine wines are the Everlasting Gobstopper of the wine world, and a crazy good value to boot.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPorter Creek Vineyards
Winemaker: Alex Davis
Region: Russian River Valley
Style: Alex Davis has been quietly making some of the best wines in California for as long as I can remember. This is one of the first wine clubs I ever joined, and for good reason. They make my favorite California Pinot Noir, as well as a value-priced Carignan that is rustic, juicy and food-friendly. We love their Zinfandel, rosé, Chardonnay, Viognier… heck, we love everything they do. Alex spent a good amount of time in Côte-Rôtie, and naturally he also produces a slammin’ Syrah which is co-fermented with a little bit of Viognier, just like they do in the northern Rhone. Porter Creek is very consistent, so it will continue to be an old standby for us.

Honorable Mentions:
Arnot-Roberts
Dirty & Rowdy
Two Shepherds
Deux Punx
Massican
Matthiasson
Hirsch Vineyards
Copain
Wind Gap

 

Varietal 101: Cabernet Sauvignon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am feeling pretty inspired by our trip last weekend to Perrucci Family Vineyards. Harvest was in full swing, and we watched them pick thousands of pounds of beautiful fruit. The Perrucci’s produce a lot of wines, but their flagship is made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Above is a photo of some of their estate fruit, hiding safely behind some bird netting.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. That’s right, it’s half red grape and half white grape. Totally odd, but grapes are funny like that. It originated in southwestern France in the 17th century, and since then it’s become the most widely recognized grape in the world. It’s planted in nearly every major wine producing country and makes some of the world’s most sought-after, expensive, and powerful wines. It’s pretty easy to grow, due to its thick skin and resistance to rot and frost. It’s America’s darling for sure.

The style of Cabernet Sauvignon wines can range from low in alcohol, restrained, lean and austere to ripe, spicy, and powerful with lush flavors and round edges. Cab tends to be lower in acid than other grapes, which means that it has to be grown and made into wine very carefully if it’s going to be built for long-haul aging (acidity helps preserve a wine). Many high end cabs are built to age, but most of them you find in stores are meant to be consumed within the first 3 or 4 years. If you spent less than $40 on your bottle of cab, chances are you should drink it up sooner rather than later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPairing food with rich, red wines can be a little tricky, but there are some rules of thumb you can follow to ensure the best results. First of all, tannin plays a major role in the types of food you can pair with a wine. Young, tannic cabs should never be paired with spicy food, because the tannins will make the spice even hotter (sometimes uncomfortably so). Additionally, tannins pair harmoniously with fatty meats, such as a rib-eye steak. Softer, aged, or less-tannic styles of cab are better off with leaner cuts of meat like a filet mignon. Acidity also plays a role – it helps cut through the fattiness like tannins do. Think of a rich, firm tannined, juicy young cab paired with slow-braised beef or lamb. YUM. Red meat really is the classic accompaniment to Cabernet Sauvignon, so you can’t really go wrong with it. Just be sure to match your tannin with the fattiness of the cut of meat and you will be in for a treat. One final thing to consider when pairing a cab with your meal is that it can clash with certain vegetables. Tannic red wines do not go well with brussel sprouts, asparagus, and artichokes. So if you are cooking up a veggie to serve along-side your delicious steak, steer clear of those.

Choosing the correct stemware for your Cabernet Sauvignon is also a great way to accentuate its complex flavors and aromas. I like to serve it in a “Bordeaux” style wine glass; a large bowl, tall sides, and tulip shape with bring out the best in your cab. The shape of the glass increases the rate at which the wine oxidizes, softening the tannins and showcasing the complexity. While it’s always best to drink your wine out of the proper glass, any large wine glass will do in a pinch.

The world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Bordeaux region of France, but Napa is making some strong contenders as well. We really love Cathy Corison’s cabs, made with organic, dry-farmed grapes grown between Rutherford & St. Helena in the Napa Valley. She makes wines with power, grace, and elegance. The style leans towards restrained and low in alcohol, which is unusual for the Napa Valley. She is one of the oldest-school winemakers in the area, her career starting in the 1970’s when it was unheard of to have a woman as a winemaker. She is an inspiration to us ladies in the wine biz, and having met her just once I was in awe. If you see Cathy’s wines for sale, be sure to pick a bottle up.

Whatever your persuasion is, Cabernet Sauvignon is a great grape to get started on if you are just getting into wine. It’s the “gateway wine” for many, and it might just make you fall in love. What are your favorite cabs? Let us know in the comments!