Matthews Winery crafts excellent old world inspired wines, including Bordeaux varietals. They source across the Columbia Valley including Royal Slope, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills AVAs. In July 2021, Matthews joined forces with winemakers Alex Stewart, Jesse Schmidt, and Hal Iverson, from Quilceda Creek. However, the new winemakers' releases are still in the making. It will be interesting to see how this changes the face of Matthews; regardless, I've always found the Matthews lineup to be top notch.
The Matthews family of wines include other labels (Tenor, Jaine, Blackboard, Single Barrel) which I have yet to experience, but am particularly interested in Blackboard. I tasted only Matthews this day.
Tasting notes are from Matthews
2019 Royal Slope Cuvee
54% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc
Deep Ruby in color, initial aromas of mocha, ripe blueberry, and bramble evolve into charcoal, dried fruits, and red huckleberry with time in the glass. The broad palate offers a fresh acidity and polished tannin. Sweet baking spice, red plum, and a dusty minerality linger on the finish. $65.
Beautiful bramble nose, with bold dark fruit on the palate with touch of smoke, opening up to green peppers with lengthy salinity on the finish. 94 points.
2020 Horse Heaven Hills Cuvee
40% Merlot, 24% Malbec, 16% Cabernet Franc, 16% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
A beautiful ruby color in the glass with aromas of black plum, red currant, and red apple skin. The 2020 Matthews Horse Heaven Hills Cuvée elicits flavors of pomegranate, espresso, Bing cherry, bilberry and sassafras with fresh acidity, medium body and chalky tannins. The long, layered finish shows textural tannins, earth and roasted red pepper. $85.
Oaky nose. Less fruit than the Royal Slope Cuvee, with more cab franc and pepper notes and spice. Very dry and tannic finish. Showing pretty well, and should improve with time. 93 points.
2020 Horse Heaven Hills Claret
68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot
The 2020 Matthews Horse Heaven Hills Claret shows a deep ruby to dense purple color in the glass. Expressive aromas of cola, sandalwood, dried flowers, bramble fruit and blueberry fruit leather lead to flavors of candied hibiscus, cacao nib, wild mountain blueberry and toasty oak. Balanced acidity, body, and palate-coating fine-grained tannins on the finish, with fall spices and black fruits. $85.
Enjoyed the cab dominance, with bold dark fruit and leather, with nice tannins. 95 points.
2019 Royal Slope Cabernet Sauvignon
95% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Merlot 1% Cabernet Franc
A brooding expression of cocoa powder and blueberry liqueur is enlivened by notes of fresh garden herbs. Earthy notes of damp forest floor and juicy summer blackberries give this wine an enticing flavor profile. Intensely plum colored with concentrated blue fruits, dark chocolate, and sweet cigar smoke finish. Muscular tannin provides structure while bright acidity from this cooler vintage brings everything into balance. $60.
Incredibly balanced cab. 96 points.
2019 Red Mountain Cuvee
53% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc
The 2019 Red Mountain Matthews Cuvée presents a deep, dark ruby hue with intense concentration of color. A savory aroma of olive tapenade evolves into the lifted fragrances of five spice, black cherry, and violets. Flavors of black cherry, cherry cola and toasted graham deliver on the promise of the aromatics. The hallmarks of this blend are its full body and rounded mouthfeel, which deliver the complexity for which this powerhouse wine is known. $65.
Silky smooth, dark fruit and cherries, with some savory notes of olive. Nice vanilla and tobacco. Excellent mouthfeel and overall balance. 96 points.
2019 Reserve Claret
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
The 2019 Matthews Reserve Claret elicits a deep ruby to purple hue with aromas of raspberry bramble, light-roasted coffee bean, wet stone and forest floor. On the palate, black current and cherry flavors mingle with hints of wet tobacco leaf and chocolate. The wine has a pleasing salinity and structured tannins with a medium-plus bodied mouthfeel. The long finish is balanced with fruit flavors, acidity and tannin that will allow the wine to age gracefully for years to come. $90.
Needs to lay down, but very promising. 95 points.