July 10, 2009

Oregon wine from Matello

I've long heard about the Matello wines of Marcus Goodfellow. That last name is apt. Marcus is known all around the Oregon wine community as a terrific guy, and I would agree having met him a few times recently.

He and I have a little bit in common, making wine being one thing and working with Russ Raney at Evesham Wood being another. It stands to reason that someone who excels at making wine, as Marcus clearly does, and who sees Russ as a role model probably makes wine I would love. What took me so long to figure it out?

A month or two back, I tried a recent release Pinot Gris from Matello that was really nice. Minerally and focused, with nice cut and no cloying sweetness that too much local gris seems to have. That made me notice.

Then earlier tonight I stopped by Michael Alberty's Storyteller Wine Company in SW Portland to see Marcus and taste a line up of his wines. I was impressed, starting off with the 2007 Matello Chardonnay Willamette Valley. This old oak aged wine (18 months in barrel) is exceptional Willamette Valley chard sourced from the Autumn Wind vineyard on Ribbon Ridge. Crisp apples and sweet cream notes with lovely focus and intensity. This is a steal at $17.

I didn't pay too much attention to the rose (pinot noir I presume) but it was nice for a hot day like today. Moving on, the 2007 Matello Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a great example of this pretty vintage. Nice perfume, medium weight with nice length and delicate, nuanced flavors. This is drinking very nicely right now.

In comparison, the 2007 Matello Pinot Noir Souris was a bit tight, with very juicy acid that I expect needs time. Marcus admitted it shows better on day two or even day three. I'm noticing this with some other 2007 Oregon pinot noir. Don't be afraid to decant them a while, or leave them while you drink things like the regular Matello Willamette Valley bottling.

Finally we tried the 2003 Matello Pinot Noir Hommage a A&D, apparently named for Amy Wesselman and David Autry of Westry, mentors to Marcus. (By the way, Westry also make terrific, under the radar wine.) This wine was a whole different story. As Marcus put it, 2003 saw about as much heat as a summer and fall could give here in Oregon. I liken this wine to zinot noir, a mix of zinfandel and pinot flavors. Tasty and lush, holding together pretty well for this early drinking vintage, but definitely not showing the grace and perfume I look for in pinot noir.

But so what! How generous for Marcus to open this, and what excellent wines he's making. Matello wines aren't widely available, but they are among the better wines produced locally, and even better values given their low pricing. Again, wines worth searching for.

No comments: