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The 2021 Matthews Columbia Valley Cuvée is comprised of several small vineyards, namely Conner Lee vineyard, as well as key sites in the White Bluffs and Royal Slope AVAs. This wine truly represents the broad flavor and aromatic expressions of a merlot-dominant blend from the diverse terroirs of Washington State. The new winemaking team worked with our vineyard managers to update our viticultural practices, reducing yields (on average) by 30% for each site. These restricted yields created small, concentrated berries. Further vineyard dedication meant we were able to harvest between 3-6 weeks later than previous vintages. This allowed each site to fully develop the proper ripeness and flavor profile we were looking for.

The fruit was hand-harvested in the early mornings between September and October. Upon arriving at the winery, the fruit was hand-sorted and destemmed before going into stainless steel tanks, spending 30+ days on skins for extended maceration. The wine was cellared for 19 months in new French oak (40%) and used French oak (60%). 59 barrels were selected and carefully blended, producing only 1,461 cases.

10 separate clones were included in the final blend (Merlot: 2, 3, 6, 15, 18, 181 Cabernet Franc: 1, 214, 327 Malbec: 4).

Tasting Notes

The 2021 Columbia Valley Cuvée sparkles with purple and deep garnet in the glass. Meadow flowers, fresh red berry, black plum, and cocoa powder aromas exhilarate leading to flavors of morello cherry liqueur, cardamom, mountain blackberry, and licorice snaps. This merlot-dominant blend is plush and weighty on the palate with powdery tannins. Dark stone fruits and dusty minerality coat the palate for a long, seamless finish.

Labeled Appellation

Columbia Valley

Varietal Composition

65% Merlot, 27% Cab Franc, 8% Malbec



Cases Produced




Awards & Accolades

"A handsome blend, structured and polished, with expressive black cherry flavors accented by tarragon, mocha espresso and toasty spices that sail toward refined tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Drink now through 2031. 1,461 cases made. From Washington."

-93 points, Tim Fish, Wine Spectator,

"The 2021 ‘Cuvee’ combines 68% Merlot with the remainder Cabernet Franc and Malbec. This shows solid concentration with a soft mouthfeel. Layers of ripe dark figs with sweet chocolate and allspice dusted blackberry all combine on the palate. This is a forward and delicious, solid showing from this warm vintage. Drink 2023-2031."

-92 points, Owen Bargreen,

"The Merlot-dominant 2021 Cuvée from Matthews blends 65% Merlot (31-year-old vines), 27% Cab Franc, and 8% Malbec, with a total of 22 different clones being used. Resting for 19 months in 40% new French oak, it gifts a deep purple core with a fluorescent purple rim. Paying homage to left-bank Bordeaux-styled wines, it pops out of the glass with aromas of black cherries, blue plums, grapefruit pith, cedary herbs, and smoked cinnamon sticks. Big and bold with a touch of finesse on the finish, it’s lush with moderate acidity and sweet tannins. 1461 cases made."

- 93 points, Jeremy Young, International Wine Report

"The 2021 Cuvée Columbia Valley is simply stunning, displaying a zesty bouquet of crushed black cherries and raspberries, complemented by hints of sage and cocoa. This is refined and sleek in style, with a rush of red and blue fruits underscored by saline minerals. An air of inner violet florals slowly forms. The 2021 finishes long, with a staining of liquid florals and gentle, round tannins that slowly fade through the lightly-structured finale. This is a blend of 65% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc and 8% Malbec, refined in 40% new oak."

-92 points, Eric Guido, Vinous Media

"The sweet aroma of a Santa Rosa plum unites on the cuvée’s nose with boysenberries and a chalky calcium note. Ripe Bing cherries are muddled together with flavors like chocolate ganache and a cedar-like bit of Sichuan peppercorns. The wine’s soft acidity is currently eclipsed by a massive tannic structure."

-92 points, Michael Alberty, Wine Enthusiast

"This Merlot-based blend is a part of the Matthews tradition. Wildly fruity aromatics with whole berries, destemmed aromas driven by red berries, mountain blueberries, and a touch of green peppercorn and mocha dust. A streak of graphite underlines red berries, early season blackberries and a savoury herbal character that mingles complexity with fresh ripe fruits."

-93 points, Clive Pursehouse, Decanter


Columbia Valley


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