Matt Taylor Wines
California, United States
Matt Taylor Wines
Matt Taylor is a practicing organic and biodynamic grower and winemaker in western Sonoma focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.
Introducing Matt Taylor Wines
Five miles inland from the Pacific Ocean—on a ridge due west of the town of Occidental, just down the road from where he was born and raised—Matt Taylor cultivates two absolutely pristine parcels of land. There, he and his wife Mikaela have planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on one parcel (from locally-sourced massale selections), and Loire varietals on the other, including Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Pineau d’Aunis, Grolleau, Romorantin, and Menu Pineau. To ensure that his land stays pristine, Matt has honed his knowledge of holistic farming practices and certified his vineyards (as well as his fruit trees, wheat, rye, and lentil crops) as both organic and biodynamic.
Considered the fringe of where grape growing is feasible in California, West Sonoma Coast has an expanding culture of eco-conscious vintners who embrace organic and biodynamic viticulture. The vines’ proximity to the Pacific expresses cooler temperatures from morning fog and ocean breezes. This, combined with a kaleidoscope of soils and elevated ridges that rise to 1,500 feet and an extraordinarily long growing season contributes to the wine’s overall heightened acidity, lower alcohol, and innate freshness.
The vines are dry-farmed organically and biodynamically on soils that have never seen chemicals. High-density plantings (3,600 vines per acre vs more typical 1,600) ensures stasis amongst the vines. 100% whole cluster fermentation, longer élevage in larger casks, and intentional bottle-aging are all married with the intent to be as minimalistic as possible. The parcel that grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is known as the Komorebi Vineyard because the 6.25-acre vineyard of Goldridge fine sandy loam is in close proximity to sequoia trees. In Japanese, the word “Komorebi” means “sunlight filtered through the leaves of trees.”
Matt has had winemaking experience at Joseph Swan Vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Domaine Dujac in Burgundy, wineries in Argentina and New Zealand, and served as the winemaker and vineyard manager at Araujo Estate Wines in the Napa Valley. In his career, he has traversed some extraordinary vineyards charged by dedicated farmers who steward some of the greatest terroirs in the world. Matt had his first exposure to cellar work with a sherry producer in Jerez. He learned of biodynamic farming during an ardent, all night discussion with a relative in Switzerland. In Burgundy, Matt gained an appreciation for the history, the land, and the wine of Le Montrachet—which he sampled during a tasting at Domaine Leflaive, and where it was explained to him “one can't have terroir without women and men of terroir.” All this travel and experience through 23 vintages has led him to embark on a project that is now two decades in the making.
Matt released the inaugural 2016 vintage of Matt Taylor Wines Komorebi Vineyard West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 2017 vintage of Matt Taylor Wines Komorebi Vineyard West Sonoma Coast Chardonnay on March 3, 2020. These wines are neither fined or filtered with nothing added to the Chardonnay and a minuscule amount of sulfur put into the Pinot Noir. The striking labels are an attempt to paint specific colors to reflect something of a tasting note for the wine. In the case of Chardonnay, there is a stroke of yellow to signify the citrus and fruit notes, a secondary moss green brush stroke to show the green aspect of the wine (not green like herbaceous or lime or green apple but more like ocean/saline and pine and moss), and then, a third component that signified the floral element. The colors for Pinot Noir were orange, light blue, and blue-green. Each bottle is hand-painted so is unique and slightly different from each other.