Marty Winters & Alex Pitts
Maître de Chai
Massa Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
This wine (in its inaugural vinage) sits squarely within an exciting new category of California Cabernets, which seems to borrow more from the Great American Songbook than they do Napa. Old vines, soulful expressions, and textures that are kneaded and smoothed. Formerly known as Heller Estate, Massa Estate is a pioneer of Carmel Valley viticulture with plantings that date back to 1969. It was standing ready when the appellation was approved in the early eighties, and it’s been certified organic since 1996. The Cabernet vines, own rooted and dry farmed in soils of sandy loam and granite, are perched at an elevation of 1500 feet, providing a sweeping view of the verdant Cachagua region (hidden waters). The wine was fermented with its native yeast in small open top fermenters and aged for sixteen months in neutral barrels.
Considering the tight relationship between food and wine, it’s surprising how few chefs make the leap from kitchens to cellars. But on the rare occasion that it does happen, the results are about as amazing as you’d expect. Take Maître de Chai, founded in 2012 by longtime friends Marty Winters and Alex Pitts. After working in some of California’s top kitchens — including Cyrus, Quince, and the French Laundry — the two former chefs decided to trade in their Crocs for Blundstones and make a life in wine. Today, Alex and Marty are joined by their respective partners — Stephanie Pitts (all things web) and Jessica Force (creative director, tasting room) — who have helped grow Maître de Chai into one of the most dynamic indie wineries in California. Their calling card is an uncompromising commitment to sourcing only the highest quality, organically farmed fruit — a carryover from Alex and Marty’s ingredient-driven ethos as chefs.
Maître de Chai