2020 Matthiasson Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, USA

The nose shows abundant dark and red fruits, lots of cherry along with blackberry, cranberry, mulberry, and framed with hints of mineral/herbal characters such as graphite, cedar, and pencil shavings. The palate is vibrant and fresh, with a good amount of age-worthy tannin and beautiful acidity. Decanting is highly recommended.



n the tradition of Cabernet Sauvignon, ours is a blended wine and includes a small amount of other Bordeaux varieties to complete the wine. For complexity and balance our Cab is composed of fruit from six vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. The three AVAs are Coombsville for structure and black fruit, Rutherford for savory Cabernet characters and bright fruit, and Oak Knoll for soft fruit. It is a Napa Cab of the old school, age-worthy, complex, and begging for a steak off the grill.

2020 was a drought year, which for us can be a very positive thing, because vines adapt to dry conditions by producing less fruit with more structure and concentration. The dry conditions told us that we were going to have a lower crop of very powerful wines, so we focused in the vineyards on supporting the vines and taking advantage of a golden opportunity to make a special age-worthy vintage.

Besides the dry weather, the remainder of the growing season was nice and consistent, no major weather extremes. And then, of course, we had dry lightning and the fires hit.

Winemakers worry about fires because the smoke on the grapes can taint the wine. We assessed the wind patterns and the ripeness of our fruit and decided to start harvesting after the first set of fires. Fortunately, we are in the southern part of Napa, and the wind cooperated with us, pushing the smoke away to the north-east, so (miraculously) we were able to harvest all our fruit over the next several weeks with no smoke damage. By the time the second fire hit we were finished with harvest, and it was a good thing, because that fire blew smoke right into our vineyards, which would have wiped us out if we hadn’t already finished.


MATTHIASSON is a family endeavor, the effort of Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson, and their two young sons. Steve & Jill both have had life-long careers in sustainable agriculture, and they apply those ideals of balance, restraint, and respect for the individual—and for the whole—to their wine.

Production at MATTHIASSON is simple but careful. This concept is central to the tradition of viticulture and winemaking. Respect for this tradition forms the core of their work. To that end, their hands literally touch every vine and every bottle.

As a vineyard consultant Steve teaches and makes decisions, such as when to water and how to prune, on vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma. Steve's current clients include Araujo Estate, Spottswoode, Chappellet, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Long Meadow Ranch, Trefethen, Limerick Lane, and others. On his own vineyards, however, Steve cares for the vines with his own hands, driving the tractor at night, and working with the crews on Sundays.

MATTHIASSON moved to Napa in 2002. In December 2006, they took their wine plans another step forward and bought a small parcel tucked behind a subdivision just west of the city of Napa. They began replanting the property's 3 1/2 acres of vineyard to an initial lot of Ribolla Gialla - traced back to Josko Gravner's vineyard in Friuli -- Merlot, Refosco, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2009 MATTHIASSON had the chance to plant a vineyard on the West slopes of the town of Sonoma. The Michael Mara vineyard is now one of the most sought after sights for Chardonnay in California. Steve also farms a few parcels in Napa for their signature blends.

MATTHIASSON's crowning achievement is a white that combines the spirit of Bordeaux and northern Italy's Friuli region - a mix of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano, the latter two almost nonexistent in California. This wine has quickly become one of California's best white blends. Their Red Blend is composed of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot.

These blends have revolutionized the idea of thinking outside the single varietal and sourcing grape varietals from their most appropriate locales up and down the Valley. Steve has also redefined the term "ripeness" in California in terms of picking wine grapes. MATTHIASSON currently picks 3-4 weeks before most of his neighbors. However, as each vintage moves on, there are more and more of farmers following the lead of Steve Matthiasson and following the trail that he is blazing through California.


Grape(s) Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc
Farming Organic