Matthiasson Phoenix Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

$350.00 inc. GST

95/100 – James Suckling

“A brilliant, powerful but elegant wine with plenty of structure, a firm texture and complex, layered mineral, herb and red fruit flavors. At just 12% alcohol, it’s much lighter than most Napa cabernets, but it delivers nicely on concentration, liveliness and freshness. Destined to age well. Best from 2028.” – James Suckling

“If you’re pining for the days of old Stag’s Leap, or some of the more historic Napa Cabernets, Steve Matthiasson has turned back time with this limited offering.” – Mission Wine & Spirits

“Thanks to the relatively high magnesium levels in the soils at Phoenix, the site naturally leans into the higher acid, brisk style that Steve wants to see in some Napa cabernet. Call it a resurrection of classic energy: Phoenix yields red-fruited, structured, highly aromatic cabernet without a lot of the fleshy mid-palate more common throughout the valley. “It’s the nebbiolo of cab,” he says. If you’ve had the chance to enjoy Napa cabernet from the early 1980s, then the Phoenix is your jam.” – Revel Wine

Tasting Note: The Phoenix vineyard sits on some of the most unusual soils in the Napa Valley. While most of Napa soils are of volcanic origin, the East-facing steep hillside Phoenix Vineyard sits on a ridge of ancient marine shale soils. The rock content and sea minerals of these soils create unique wines with high-toned red fruits, perfumed and exotic, with a lightness in the mid-palate yet a long, firm, and structured finish. Wine singular enough, yet complete enough, to be worthy of a single vineyard designation. There were terrible fires in 2020 — on August 19 the Vaca Mountains erupted in flames — we looked across the valley at the smoke and decided to harvest the entire Phoenix Vineyard the next day, while the sky above us was still blue and the smoke was still at bay. It was our earliest Cabernet harvest ever, and we love the resulting wine — pure, fresh, and incredibly elegant.

Winemaking Notes: This wine was given 20 months of elevage in ~20% new French oak, a few older French oak barrels, two seasoned Demi-muids, and a large foudre (to preserve the aromatics, similar to Barolo-style aging). The wine will reward long aging or can be enjoyed young with a meal after a little decanting. The pH is 3.73, TA is 8.1, and alcohol is 12.0%. 361 cases produced. Certified Organic vineyard.

Vineyard Notes: In 2017 we had an opportunity of a lifetime. After 14 years of making wine in other wineries, where we rented space, we had the chance to buy our own winery. The elderly owners of the vineyard and winery next door to a property we were farming could no longer manage the upkeep and needed help. We started farming their grapes for them, and later that same year purchased the property, granting them a lifetime estate; we gained our dream of a winery, and they secured their home for the rest of their lives. The Phoenix Vineyard was planted back in 1982 by that same family on the steep hillside above the winery. They used old heritage field selections of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. With the help of their sons they lovingly cared for the vines themselves the entire time. When we took over, we converted to Organic Farming, planted new vines where some of the old vines had given up, and focused on rejuvenating the old vines with compost and pruning. The steep hillside and narrow rows require most work to be done by hand—even the compost is applied with shovels and wheelbarrows, that task alone takes two weeks. It’s a challenging vineyard to farm but it’s worth it.

Certification: Organic

Alcohol: 12.0%

Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Mt Veeder, Oak Knoll AVA, Napa, California

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