Matt and Sewell Hatcher were raised in the Bay Area by dynamic, young parents who loved wine. As Sewell says, they would "drag us up to Napa Valley with them for wine tasting back in the day before there were even any tasting rooms." Little did the two boys know, those frequent weekends up in wine country would end up influencing their ultimate life's work. Sewell worked with wine in the fine dining restaurant business in San Francisco, Napa and Hawaii, and Matt started collecting it as a young man in his 20s. All those great bottles fueled Matt's interest in winemaking, so he took a few courses at UC Davis and started experimenting with a makeshift winery he installed above his house. He also ventured to Calaveras County, where he purchased a vineyard as well as an old brewery which he turned into a real winery. Sewell joined him as partner and the two brothers hatched ‘Hatcher Winery’ in 2002. A few years later, they created a second label called ‘School Street’, named in part to honor Jennifer Berry, a beloved teacher in Murphys where the Hatcher tasting room is located. Except for the Zinfandel from their estate vineyard, they mainly source their grapes from growers across the Sierra Foothills and produce about 30 different wines for Hatcher, School Street and Chatom Winery, which they also own.
The fruit for this 2017 School Street Pinot Grigio comes from the three main winegrowing regions of the Sierra Foothills: El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras Counties. It was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged there for four months before being bottled and released in mid-February. Aromas on the nose are more tropical in nature with scents of guava and pineapple along with a good dollop of honey which traces its way onto the medium-bodied palate all the way through to the finish. In addition to succulent honey notes, flavors on the nicely textured mid-palate also recall poached pear, sweet, juicy, mid-season yellow peach and as Matt suggests, hints of ginger. With the honey-tinged finish, this is a full-flavored, richer style Pinot Grigio that doesn't need any food to be thoroughly enjoyed on its own, yet it would be delicious served alongside a hearty, fragrant dish such as Thai seafood curry.