Napa, California (September 26, 2016) – Steve Matthiasson has been appointed winemaker for Acumen, an Atlas Peak estate specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon from its two mountainside vineyards in the high-elevation AVA in the Napa Valley. Matthiasson succeeds winemaker Denis Malbec, who died in an automobile accident earlier this year.
Matthiasson, as a viticulturist, was part of Acumen’s founding team that selected, developed and farmed the first estate vineyard after owner Eric Yuan acquired it from Dr. Jan Krupp in 2012.
“Steve and Denis shared a common love for the vineyards and a vision to make world-class, age worthy Cabernet Sauvignon by combining the best qualities of the Old and New World. Being a founding member of our team who shares our passion to make wine in the vineyards, along with being an accomplished winemaker himself, made him a natural choice to succeed Denis,” noted Steven Rea, president and estate director for Acumen.
“This is a superb mountain vineyard site. It’s an exciting opportunity to use all of my years of viticultural experience to ‘read’ the vineyard and hone in on various small vineyard blocks to craft this wine,” said Matthiasson. “After over 20 years of helping with the farming of literally hundreds of vineyards, I jumped at the chance to personally carry the fruit all the way to the bottle with Acumen. As winemaker at this property, I now have the chance to craft single vineyard wines from these two exceptional mountain vineyard sites with which I was already intimately involved.”
Along with his wife, Jill Klein Matthiasson, they launched their eponymous wine label in 2003, which has garnered significant critical acclaim, including Winemaker of the Year honors for Steve from the San Francisco Chronicle and Food & Wine Magazine. In addition, Matthiasson has developed an enviable list of past and current winery clients, including Araujo Estate, Dalla Valle, Spottswoode, Chappellet, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, David Arthur, Duckhorn and Hall. Matthiasson studied horticulture at U.C. Davis, where he received a master’s degree, before immersing himself in sustainable farming in the San Joaquin Valley as a consultant in the late 1990s. He co-authored a widely-regarded sustainable farming manual in 1999, and in 2002 he moved to the Napa Valley to work as a consultant on vineyard practices.
Acumen was founded in 2012 when Eric Yuan and his family acquired a prized 32-acre vineyard on Atlas Peak from Dr. Jan Krupp of Stagecoach Vineyard fame. In searching for a vineyard that could produce world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, they hired winery management executive Steven Rea and his team of wine industry veterans, including Matthiasson, Malbec and Garrett Buckland, to seek out an ideal site in the Napa Valley. They considered a number of top Napa Valley vineyards before settling on Krupp’s property in the rugged Atlas Peak AVA in the Vaca Mountains of eastern Napa Valley. A second, 84-acre vineyard, just a half mile up the road, was acquired in 2013.
The first Acumen estate wines from Atlas Peak, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignons, are being released in the fall of 2016. Additional information is available at www.acumenwine.com.