In 2016, Matt and Audra Naumann founded a 40-acre ranch, vineyard, and winery in the Sierra Foothills to establish a legacy for their family and realize their dream to become first generation grape growers and independent wine producers.
Matt has worked in all facets of wine: managing wine bars, writing wine lists, working in wine shops, working fermentations, tending grapevines, cellar work, winemaking, managing distributors and wineries. He’s quite proud of his decade spent working at Failla Wines, where he completed his tenure in the spring of 2017. Currently, Matt is the General Manager for DWade Cellars, the wine project of NBA legend, Dwayne Wade. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Pahlmeyer Wines.
As a certified Sommelier with a passion for telling the stories of the vineyards, wines and talented people behind the wines, Audra has an affinity for connecting people and wine. She spent her career partnering with national brands to increase their direct-to-consumer and wholesale sales and boost their brand awareness and reach. Audra’s day job is the Director of Hospitality for Matthiasson Wines.
After nearly two decades in the wine industry, Matt’s desire to regain a strong connection to the land and Audra’s desire to develop personal, consumer relationships inspired them to establish Newfound Wines. They view farming as a connection not just to the land but to the universe, deeply acknowledging and respecting that nature is in control, and understanding that their role is simply to listen and react. In addition to their Sierra Foothills property, Matt and Audra source from several select grape growers that share their same set of convictions. This nature-led farming guides their winemaking process which is individualistic and creates authentic wines that contain a naturally rugged edge that most importantly captures the voice of the vineyards. Each wine is given individual treatment, respecting the fruit from fermentation to the vessel it’s brought up in. Élevage is custom for each lot in order to nurture its distinct differences. This approach creates captivating wines that showcase the purity of the varietal character, the place, and their philosophical thumbprint. Matt is firmly guided by the belief that less is always more, and his winemaking approach is minimalistic.
2017 Carignane, Colombini Vineyard, Redwood Valley $32
The Colombini Vineyard is a mid-century planting that was installed by Charlie Barra in 1942. Still in production, the Carignane block, off Road I in the Redwood Valley, is a benchland site that contains a diverse mix of Pinole series soils – a well-drained gravely mixture of clay with sedimentary materials. The 10-acre planting has been farmed by the Colombini family since the 1970s and has contributed to everything from sacramental wine to vineyard designated bottlings. Darin Colombini (second generation) is the guiding hand that tends to the vines each year.
Matt’s fondness for using whole clusters was on full display with the 2017 Carignane. Two tons were picked on October 2nd and the entire lot fermented with whole bunches. The handling was gentle, performing no more than two punch downs per day. The fragrant fermentation lasted a total of 18 days, wherein the wine was then laid to rest for another 12 months in 2 demi-muids. Both vessels were then racked and combined just 3 days prior to bottling on October 5th, 2018. Just under 140 cases were produced.
The 2017 Carignane is a dry, medium-bodied red wine that is refreshing, juicy, mouthwatering, and complex. It has aromas and flavors of bright cherry, frais du bois, and savory herbs including dried thyme and garrigue. Displaying a firm structure framed with fine tannins the wine has a delicious juicy core. It will pair deliciously with roasted and cured meats, roasted squashes, eggplant lasagna, or a savory onion and mushroom tart. The wine can pair particularly well with the spices of southern Spain and even the piquant seasonings of Morocco and Algeria.
2017 Mourvedre, Scaggs Vineyard, Mt Veeder Napa Valley $37
Boz & Dominique Scaggs own a wonderful piece of land atop Mt Veeder in the Napa Valley. The 2.5-acre vineyard planting ranges from 1100 to 1400 feet in elevation and contains a mix of aiken loam (at the top) and Saratoga-series sandstone at the bottom. The vineyard is hand farmed by one talented individual, Carlos Lopez. Carlos strictly adheres to organic practices and is the only human to touch each of the 3200 vines on the site a minimum of 6 times per year. Carlos’ vine care displays a form of husbandry that is rarely seen in vineyard management these days. This combination of Boz’s conviction and Carlos’ diligence embraces a purity and authenticity that speaks to Matt and Audra’s philosophy in a profound way.
Despite Matt’s affinity for whole-clusters, in 2017 they destemmed all of the fruit. Native yeast fermentation followed and maceration lasted a total of 20 days. Élevage occurred in one 600L Stockinger demi-muid and one 600L Amphora, a combination Matt found quite suitable in the previous vintage. The porosity of the clay matches well with the reductive nature of Mourvedre, while the Stockinger provides a focus and grippy spine. Combined, both vessels highlighted Mourvedre’s natural personality. The wine was racked one time just prior to bottling on October 5 and bottled without fining or filtration. Just 190 cases were produced.
The 2017 Mourvedre has aromas and flavors of saddle leather, fig, toasted hazelnut, and graphite. On the palate it is supple and round with deceptively fine tannins. Try it with braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork or squab, mushroom soup or roasted root vegetables with polenta and Gorgonzola.
2016 Grenache, Scaggs Vineyard, Mt Veeder Napa Valley $40
The fruit for Newfound’s Grenache comes from the same vineyard as their Mourvedre. At 1200 feet in elevation, the Grenache block is the lowest point of the property where a total of 1500 vines cover just under one acre. This eastern facing hillside planting is surrounded by two sides by oak, redwood and manzanita woodland. Planted in 1998 with original selections from Tablas Creek, the mountainous terroir provides a rugged structure while maintaining Grenache’s innate perfume.
Matt’s years working at Failla, had a profound impact on his winemaking approach. He learned many lessons over the years, having witnessed the work done on some of the great California Pinot Noir sites, and now maintains that same approach with a Grenache site of serious cache. Harvest occurred with one pass on September 15. The stems smelled of pure white pepper so 50% whole bunch was used in the fermentation. Native yeasts were used for primary fermentation, with punchdowns employed as the preferred choice for cap management. A total of 18 days was needed for the cuvaison. At the completion of fermentation, Matt barreled down to one 700L Nomblot concrete egg and one neutral 228L barrique. Both components were then combined after raising the wine in cellar for a total of 11 months. The cold cellar environment prolonged malolactic fermentation well into the spring contributing to a beautiful natural density in the completed wine. The first racking occurred one week prior to the bottling. The final wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Only 112 cases were produced.
The 2016 Grenache has aromas of herbs, earth, spice and red and black fruits with some additional floral notes. The palate is smooth and lithe and has classic Grenache character with palate cleansing acidity. Try it with a potato gratin casserole with wild mushrooms, chicken with roasted root vegetables in olive oil with basil, herbs de Provence, and wine, rabbit or pork sausages or roasted salmon, ahi tuna, and other fish dishes served with caramelized onions and vegetables.
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