Matthews Claret Columbia Valley 2021
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What a harmonious—dare I say darn near perfect—red blend. There's so much going on in aromas and flavors, from black raspberry to Amarena cherry to blackberry cobbler, from allspice to graphite to tobacco leaf. But really it's the way this Claret is both full-bodied and utterly suave. Its fabulously rich, smooth and silky texture takes this wonderful cake and puts the cherry on it. The polish and balance is nothing short of masterful. As noted above, a harmonious and seamless blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. I highly recommend it. -Marcus
The most extraordinary winemaking coup in the history of the Pacific Northwest wine industry. That might sound like an exaggeration but actually, it might be an understatement. Nothing like it has ever happened in Oregon or Washington wine.
In July of 2021, the winemaking team at Quilceda Creek—yes, the most famous Cabernet producer in Washington and one of the most famous in the world—jumped ship. They all arrived at the same, new destination: Matthews. The trio of lead winemaker Alex Stewart (17 years at QC) and his assistants Jesse Schmidt and Hal Iverson (10 years each at QC) arrived at Matthews just in time to welcome grapes from the magnificent 2021 vintage.
The imagined potential—the potential solely on paper—had us licking our chops. The combined years of experience in the cellar of a legendary producer, the chance to show off their chops through a new lens and stellar vintage. It's seriously drool-worthy. Well, grab your napkins or use your sleeve if you must because it's time to get ordering. No need to imagine the potential: here are the first releases from the new winemaking team at Matthews and they deliver!
94 points Owen Bargreen: "Every bit outstanding the 2021 Claret combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot with smaller parts Malbec and Petit Verdot. Chocolate and espresso grounds mark the nose alongside shades of huckleberry and dried herbs. The palate is soft and well-balanced with a smooth texture. Showing salty and earthy undertones, this is a fantastic showing that displays each varietal working in seamless motion. Drink 2023-2033.”