Meet the Rosémaker: Steve Matthiasson
Steve Matthiasson, a farmer, James Beard nominated winemaker, and Napa’s go-to viticulture consultant, is someone you can trust will make a high qualité organic Rosé. The wines he makes for his highly accoladed namesake label, a partnership with his wife Jill Klein Matthiasson who is also a farmer and runs the business, are balanced, lower in alcohol (as we like it), and made with love and expertise (a perfect combo) He has been called the Winemaker of The Year by both the San Francisco Chronicle and Food & Wine. We are ecstatic to have him talk to us about his beautiful Rosé and how he plans to enjoy it this summer.
What’s your backstoré with wine? Jill and I came to wine from our mutual love of food and organic farming. When we first met, Jill was working with a family farmer and local food non-profit, and I was working for a sustainable ag consulting company. We started making wine at home with fruit grown by my clients, and a decade later (2003) started Matthiasson Family Vineyards. We grow our own fruit organically and coax our growers of any sourced fruit in that direction, approaching wine with the same ethic and aesthetic as a farm to table chef—simple preparations of pure food grown in clean healthy soil. Our wine is made to complement a meal.
Tell us about Matthiasson Rosé: We started making light and crisp rosé for home consumption around 20 years ago. The first year we made enough to sell was 2012. Our rosé is primarily a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre, and Counoise. It is from the Windmill Vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills, the Hurly Vineyard in Napa, and the Gibson Ranch in Mendocino. The fruit is grown for rosé. It is feather light with a clean finish, savory and saline, with a hint of strawberry and grapefruit. The steely colors of the label are meant to represent the clean refreshing quality of the wine.
What are you pairing with this year’s vintage? We have our rosé with fresh grilled vegetables from the garden or farmer’s market, oysters or any seafood, or delicate meats like rabbit or quail.
Where’s your favorite place to stop and drink the rosé? We always bring a magnum to a party. We love our rosé near any body of water or of course in the back yard.
Who would you most like to share a glass with? Alice Waters (Chez Panisse serves it by the glass alongside Domaine Tempier. We can’t think of a higher honor).
When you aren’t drinking rosé what’s your go-to summer drink? German pilsner, mezcal and our home grown limes, cider.
What are you most looking forward to this summer? Getting out on the boat with our sons. It was going to be our annual backpacking trip, but I took a spill on my bike, so the summer plans transitioned to a more mellow trajectory. The boat (and a bottle of rosé) should work just fine.