Tasting Notes

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards – A new worthy discovery                                          

A recent introduction by publicist Jamie Tobin opened my eyes to a 50-acre property belonging to the Cunat family.  Brian Cunat, his brother John, Brian’s wife Miki and (Brian and Miki’s) two daughters established the Materra label in 2007 after purchasing the historic Oak Knoll 50-acre site in 2007.  Their state-of-the-art winery was completed In 2014.  Today they have Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Syrah planted on the 45-acre vineyard estate.

Talented Chelsea Barrett (daughter of Heidi Peterson Barrett and Bo Barrett, granddaughter of Dick Peterson, all of whom are renowned Napa Valley Winemakers) joined Mattera Winery as Winemaker in 2019, and Assistant Winemaker Caryn Harrison joined the Materra team the same year.  Harry Heitz is the winery’s General Manager. 

I really appreciate that sustainability has been important to them since the beginning, and in 2017 they became Napa Green Certified.  And their wines are noteworthy:

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, Oak Knoll District: The citrus blossom aroma is wildly expressive.  Juicy grapefruit, clementine, Honeydew melon, a touch of herbaceousness, Meyer lemon, and lime sorbet invigorate the palate.  Lively  acidity keeps the wine in fine balance, and the finish is uplifting and zesty.  SRP:  $27

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards 2021 Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District:  The floral, citrus-toned aromatic is engaging at first whiff.  Filling the palate are bright notes of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, lemon-lime, crisp McIntosh apples, a touch of spice, minerality, and hints of oyster shell salinity.  The texture is creamy, and the wine remains fresh and well balanced through the vivacious finish.  SRP:  $26

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards 2019 Right Bank, Oak Knoll District:  Forest berries and earthiness rise from the glass. Rich and deeply flavored while well balanced as layers of cassis, blackberries, dark plum, sun-dappled earth, and tobacco leaf broaden on the palate. It’s deliciously old world meets new world in style, with firm tannins and a silky-smooth texture, and the finish is persistent.  SRP:  $60

2019 Hidden Block Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley:  Violet scents rise from the glass with this deep, dark, well-knit Cabernet Sauvignon.  Beautifully expressive and elegant as blackberries, black currant, leather, hints of marjoram, black plum, and  fresh tobacco unfold onto the palate.  Underlying oak spice adds depth, and the finish seems endless.  SRP:  $72

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Mountain District:   Wow, compelling aromas of deep, dark black fruit and warm earthiness on the nose. Black currant, spice-tinged plum chutney, fresh tobacco, saddle leather and perfectly integrated oak (21-month aging in 65% new French oak).  Velvety in texture with a backbone of firm tannins, and the finish is memorable, a seamless beauty, approachable now and ageworthy.  SRP:  $100

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards 2021 Midnight:  Napa Valley:  This well-structured red blend composed of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot sports a  deep blackish-purple hue. Rich and nicely balanced, it is approachable now, yet promises years of future enjoyment.  Expressive aromatics lead to Santa Rosa  plums, crème de cassis, earthy tones, olallieberries and well-managed oak interlacing in harmony.  Smoothly textured, the tannins are supple, and the finish is divine.  SRP:  $44

They also offer a line of Napa Valley wines designed to pair with Japanese cuisine. Co-founder Miki Cunat (originally from Shiogama, Japan) collaborated with winemaker Chelsea Barrett to create a series paying homage to her heritage. The labels are designed by Miki’s daughter, artist Amie Cunat.  For more info about this series, visit their website or give them a call.

Tours and tastings can be booked on their website, www.materrawines.com.  Materra Cunat Family Vineyards is open daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm, closed on major holidays.  You can also reach them by phone  (707 224 4900) or contact them via email at info@materrawines.com