Four Questions, Four Wines with Jill Klein Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines

Four is a recurrent number in the Passover Seder. There are the Four Questions, the Four Sons, and four cups of wine.

Another central part of the Passover Seder is wine. Wine plays a central part in all Jewish traditions. Wine is considered a holy beverage and the blessing over the wine is an important part of most religious ceremonies. In the Scriptures, wine is described as “bringing joy to G-d and man” (Judges 9:13). We use wine when we say Kiddush on Shabbat and other holidays. Blessings are recited with a cup of wine when beneath the chuppah and at a circumcision. And each year at the Passover Seder, we drink four cups of wine as expressions of deliverance promised by G-d.

With the importance of the number four, I spoke to four winemakers and asked them each four questions, including the four wines they suggest for our Passover meals and wrote about it for J Living Magazine. Here is Winemaker #2: Jill Klein Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines

Matthiasson Wines was created in the early 2000s by Steve Matthiasson, one of Napa’s top viticultural consultants, and his wife Jill. They have always focused on sustainable agriculture to produce wines of balance, restraint, and respect. The Matthiassons source grapes varieties from vineyards up and down the Napa Valley, including their certified organic Matthiasson vineyard located in the West Oak Knoll area of Napa, and are known for their single varietal wines as their unique blends.

Why is this winery different from other wineries?

Our winery is based in the Napa Valley. We are known for making wines that are not the typical style for the area; they are refreshing, complement food, and are moderate in alcohol. Some are from well-known varieties, like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and some are made from unusual varieties like Ribolla Gialla and Refosco. We see ourselves as farmers first; winemakers second. Our vineyards are all farmed organically, and the quality of the wines are a result of the care we put into the vineyards.

What do you remember drinking at your family seder table?

My family was not into wine. We drank Manischewitz at the Seder table. I tried to get drunk on it one year, but it was way too sweet. As adults, Steve and I are in charge of bringing the wines.

At your seder table this year, what four wines would you select?

We drink Matthiasson wines at the Seder table. Our family loves that our wines are part of the celebration. During the seder, we will begin with the Matthiasson 2020 California Rosé ($26), a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Counoise. We will pair the 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($32) with the Matzo Ball Soup and our 2018 Napa Valley White Wine ($40), a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Semillon and Tocai Friulano, will be enjoyed with the salted boiled eggs. With the brisket, we will enjoy the 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($65).

What do these wines teach us?

Passover is about renewal and reminds us of the cyclical nature of farming. Springtime is when the vines bud out and start to grow after being asleep for the winter. Since our wines are all made from grapes that we grow organically, as the vines and soil wake up, we apply compost to revitalize them and begin the new year of growth.

Read the original story Passover 2021 – Four Winemakers, Four Questions, Four Wines in J Living Magazine.