Over Memorial Day, we did a Paul Mathew pinot noir horizontal tasting. We opened three single-vineyard pinots produced by Paul Mathew Vineyards in Healdsburg. These are all in the Russian River Valley AVA and are outstanding examples of the differences terroir can make.
The TnT Vineyard pinot ($40) opens with aromas of cherries and rose petals. Lush mouth feel, almond-hazelnut finish. Slightly too acid, but super-long finish. The lengthy finish turns out to be a characteristic of all three wines.
Next up, the Ruxton Vineyard’s ($40) nose was less intense, but more earthy than the TNT. Less acid, but also not the intense flavor of the TNT.
Finally, the Horseshoe Bend Vineyard ($40) also displayed a nose that was not very intense, somewhat sharper than the Ruston. There is cranberry on the palate. Unfortunately, the long finish in this case was marred by a slight off-flavor at the very end.
The following weekend we opened the Russian River Valley pinot noir ($32), a blend of the three single-vineyard wines we had already tasted. Delicious! Strong rose petal and strawberry fragrances with an explosion of huckleberries on the palate. A long, smooth finish with just a hint of butterscotch at the end. Even at full retail this is a bargain. Paul Mathew is the man!
Well, not actually. Mathew is still there in the person of Mat Gustafson, the co-owner and winemaker. His lovely wife Barb was kind enough to respond to our inquiry about the name of the winery. Paul was originally partners with Mat. Hence the Paul Mathew name. After a year, the two parted company, with Mat keeping the business name.
From the website: “Paul Mathew Vineyards is committed to low input winemaking using indigenous yeast and Malolactic bacteria. This winemaking style produces wine lush on the palate with seamless flavors. This process is much slower and more time consuming than traditional commercial winemaking. Low input winemaking showcases the fruit and the site.”
Frankly, we didn’t detect any evidence of malolactic except for that slight hint of butterscotch on the RRV blend. But he’s right about the lush palate and seamless flavors.
We discovered Paul Mathew at the Pasadena Pinotfest in February, 2012. We also have a bottle of their Russian River Valley blend which is actually a blend of the three single-vineyard wines reviewed here. We have carefully kept these four bottles until today. Well worth the wait. (The 2013 Pinotfest will be January 25 – February 9.)
The winemaker at Paul Mathew, Mat Gustafson, was also pouring at the Pinotfest. His wife Barb was also there — she holds the title assistant winemaker. Mat has been in the wine business since he worked in his dad’s store in Michigan. His pedigree is proudly displayed on the winery website. All that matters to us is the output which is pretty terrific.