Matthews Cabernet Sauvignon
Polished, showy, and dynamite to drink
The Matthews Cabernet is a Washington-born shout out to the classic left bank blends of Bordeaux and Medoc. An incredibly selective blending process produces a wine that is big on show but remarkably composed. Think of it as a wine that looks flawless in a tux, but isn’t afraid to loosen the tie, roll up the sleeves, and throw down on the dance floor. We let Cabernet lead the way, with Cab Franc and then a touch of Merlot filling in the gaps and smoothing any rough edges. Beautiful, explosive aromatics announce the wine before you even pour it, and that opulence is replicated in the dense, vibrant mouthfeel. This is a really fun wine to drink, but it won’t beat you up with too much tannin.
Bordeaux-style blends are famously terroir driven, and ours is no exception. Cabernet loves to grow in Washington, where our arid climate, large temperature swings and long seasons give us the powerful ripe fruit you’d expect from California, with more of the balance, complexity and freshness you’d expect from a French blend. Matthews Cabernet in particular is characterized by its intense spice, silky texture and excellent transitions.
This is a big, opulent wine that presents with a deep ruby color and loads of ripe black fruit—Cassis, cherry, currant and plumskin. The barrel notes are not subtle either, with tobacco, truffles, and cedar coming through on both the the nose and palate. But despite all that show, it’s a very composed wine. When contrasted with the sultry, contemplative Matthews Merlot—a right bank inspired Bordeaux blend—the cab is powerful and showy, but still easy to approach and easy to drink. This wine will hit its prime drinking window at around 5 years and continue to show in its youthful form through 12 or even 14 years.
The Cabernet is full-bodied, high in tannins, and high in acid, making it an excellent candidates for cellaring and a classic companion for grilled meats—steaks, lamb and game. It loves to be paired with with bitter vegetables, such as broccoli rabe or escarole. It’s also a complex wine, which means it’s at its best with simple, honest meals that let it show off all its moves. It will enhance and be enhanced by earthy flavors like mushroom, smoke and roasted tomato. This wine doesn’t need to be the center of attention, but you better believe it will be heard.
IN THE VINEYARDS
We do not set targets for our overall production with this wine, and so we are free to aggressively constrain yields and berry size in the vineyards. We are meticulous about our site choices and about how they are tended year over year. Our goal is to maximize concentration and intensity without losing the suppleness and drinkability that we love in WA cabs.
IN THE WINERY
This wine gets a bit of extra love and care in the winery, not because of preference, but because that’s what is required to produce the profile we’re looking for. The grapes are sorted—often twice—to remove any extra material and stems, because clean fruit produces clean, fruit-driven wine. We ferment in stainless and concrete, leaning towards concrete because it helps us add depth and detail and balance the ripeness with smoothness. It gets barrelled for 20-22 months in barrels custom designed for this wine. Then it’s blended blindly before going back in the barrel (as a blend) for another year or so before being re-evaluated and finally bottled. This process creates the most complete cab-driven blend we can make and epitomizes the power and grace of Bordeaux varietals in Washington.