Matt’s wines have been on my short list of the most impressive reds produced anywhere in the U.S. for decades. Add the fact that most make it to retail shelves for under $30 means it’s also nearly impossible to find better value from anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, these wines will never exist again.
The key to natural concentration in any wine is tiny yields. Often that happens when a winegrower aggressively prunes so that flavors concentrate in the berries that remain. Sometimes nature kicks in and hydric stress causes the grapes to remain tiny and concentrated -even shrivel on the vine. Occasionally – hail might do the work for you.
In the case of these ancient vineyards – this all happens naturally. Ancient grape bushes produce few berries. The sandy soils provide hydric stress. The grapes remain minuscule and super-concentrated – mimicking amarone growing on the vine.
Now I absolutely adore the single varietal wines from Matt. The Evangelho Zinfandel may be one of the best in the world. The Petite Sirah is so thick and jammy and a total crowd pleaser. But if you ask me – the best wine of the whole bunch is the old-vine red, a true field blend of many of the same varieties found in Chateauneuf-du-Pape but without the $200 price tag the vines this old command.
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