Matt Villard @ MCV Wines

Visalia Native Makes Petite Sirah and Other Inky Wines in Paso Robles

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Originally from Visalia, Villard grew up with parents who were very much into good wine. During his sixth year of winemaking, he found some excellent petite sirah, and launched his label in 2011, focused primarily on inky wines of power and circumstance.

Did you have a wine epiphany moment? In college, I was pre-med, but I took Intro to Winemaking and it clicked that people could actually make wine for a living. It was a downward spiral from there. I was immediately hooked. It just spoke to me that I could actually create wine.

What’s the focus of MCV? I started MCV in 2011. I was working in Napa at the start of the harvest and ended up hurting my knee. The company replaced me, so I came back down to the Central Coast, where I was living when not away on harvest, and started making phone calls looking for work or grapes. I ended up finding a production facility and four tons of petite sirah, and I started MCV. I found another three tons of petite sirah, two tons of syrah, and a ton of grenache, and that was my first vintage. My focus is making ultra-premium wine that is unique and interesting. My style is all about balance, structure, and elegance, even with the heavily tannic, inky varietals I work with.

Why petite sirah? I love petite sirah. It has a unique versatility that really allows the winemaker the ability to make it their own. Paso is known for its heavy, dark wine, so working with petite sirah, tannat, and petit verdot makes sense. They also work incredibly well from a wine standpoint. Tannat is a front-palate, acid-retentive black varietal. Petite sirah is a mid-palate structural black grape, and petit verdot is a back-palate structure and age-ability booster. So together, like in my “Black” bottling, they make for a GSM-style wine but utilizing black grapes.

Where do you fit in the current wine landscape of the Central Coast? Currently, I feel like we’re still the small, new guys on the block. We're a family-owned, boutique winery. I do all the production, and my wife, Teresa, runs the tasting room and sales. It’s not uncommon to see our son at the tasting room or events. This really allows us to give our clientele a very personal experience.

We love it when people come back and tell us how they remember the first time they met me, or how much bigger our son is from the last time they saw him. “MCV” is my initials; it's my wine, so it's a very personal product. In some ways it's a reflection of me, and we want people to experience that as well.

See mcvwines.com.

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