Steve Matthiasson has been changing the landscape of California's wine industry for 25 years. An avant-gardener who settled in Napa Valley during the 90's "Bigger is Better" escapade, Steve looked around, shook his head, and began to make things better.California viticulture had changed drastically since the golden era of the 1960s and 70s, and farming was the main culprit. Extreme ripeness and high yields were the goals, instead of terroir and finesse, and all sorts of manipulations made it happen. Growers wasted California's precious water irrigating 100-year-old dry-farmed vineyards. Fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides carpet bombed anything that was left. Something needed to be done. And Steve led the charge.Dubbed California's Godfather of Sustainable Viticulture, after he wrote the literal manual in 1999, Steve moved into consulting. The needle--slowly--started moving back towards balance, both in the environment and the wines themselves. And Steve rose to the very top of his field, managing legendary estates like Araujo and Stag's Leap Vineyards. For much of that time Steve and his wife, Jill, wanted to make their own wines so that they could control the process from the ground up. So in 2003 they founded their winery and named it Matthiasson. As many of you know these are some of California's most compelling and illuminating wines that not only pay homage to the wines from Californias’ Golden Age but improves upon them. Coming from some of the state's most revered vineyards they are age worthy tributes to these glorious sites.Because all of this the Matthiasson wines are by no means inexpensive. As wine lovers who have spent a reasonable amount of time drinking through Europe, where one can easily encounter incredibly delicious bottles of cheap wine, they realized that truly great Cali table wine was the next challenge they wanted to conquer.Tendu, their second label, is how they met the challenge. In the beginning there was just a red and white table wine but over the years the project has evolved and now includes varietal wines like Vermentino, Cortese, and Mataro (Mourvedre). They are made with the same standards and attention to detail as their namesake wines but the Tendus are significantly less expensive.They do this by working with lesser known varieties coming from more humble appellations. Steve's years of being the go-to for sustainable vineyard management gave him an intimate knowledge of where California’s best fruit is grown, from Napa to Yolo County. No one has better connections and thus he has harnessed all of this to produce what is California’s answer to Europe's best table wines. Like all of their wines, they work exclusively with organic fruit and make the wines with native yeast, never filtering or finning. The only thing ever added is a tiny amount of sulfur.Tendu is a ballet term that loosely translates to tight or stretched and considering the amount of tension in these wines, it's rather fitting. Fresh, vibrant and aromatically complex, each one repudiates the notion that inexpensive wine cannot be compelling or exciting. Their low ABV makes them perfect for an afternoon drinking with friends yet with enough poise and tension for the dinner table.
Crisp , Fruity , Minerally