Celebrating 30 years as your Northwest wine specialists!

99 Point Oregon Chard: Surprise!

A couple weeks ago we got a big surprise. We had a tipJim (Arterberry) Maresh texted "I have a surprise for you." Then wham, massive new score in The Wine Advocate for his Pinots. Except that wasn't the surprise.

As we checked out the highest scoring wines in the Advocate, including the highest scoring wine, we kept seeing Tan Fruit Chardonnays. What the ___ ? Surprise! The new Chardonnay-only label from Arterberry Maresh and the highest-scoring line-up of Oregon Chards in history: Tan Fruit. From 97 all the way to 99 points, wow!

From the earliest years of our relationship with Jim Maresh we've said the same thing: Jim's favorites of his wines are his Chards (read more about that below). He put all his weight behind that sentiment to create Tan Fruit Chardonnays. The full line-up is here todaywe've tasted them, they're everything we love about Jim's Chards and about Oregon Chard. You simply have to try them. Pick and choose or try the sampler case. Whichever route you take, make it Tan Fruit.

Tan Fruit Tank Fruit Chardonnay 2019
$59.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($64.95 regular)

99 points Wine Advocate: "Pure, ultra perfumed, intense and layered, with alluring white peaches and lilac interwoven with cashews and honeycomb on the nose. The palate derives incredible energy from the push-pull of those deeper tones with salty, energetic acidity, and it finishes with extraordinary length."

Fermented and aged in tank for one year, then transferred to barrel for another six months of aging, hence the name.


The Tan Fruit Sampler Case includes 1 Eyrie Vineyard (available only in the sampler case), 2 Tank Fruit, 2 Maresh Vineyard, 2 Oak Grove Vineyard, 2 Vojtilla Vineyard, 3 Dux Vineyard

The only way to get Tan Fruit's Eyrie Vineyard Chardonnay 
98+ points Wine Advocate: "Only one Damy barrel of the incredible 2019 Chardonnay Eyrie Vineyard was made, from Draper selection vines planted in 1968. It was matured for 20 months, about 14 in barrel and six in stainless steel. The Eyrie is characterized by singular tones of graphite and mushroom powder. "There's only one barrel in the cellar that behaves like that," says Maresh, "and it's the Eyrie. It's just something in those vines. I oxidize early and make wine that heavily combats reduction. But even with my process, there is something that still comes through on the Eyrie." Its aromas continually open and evolve as it spends time in the glass, the palate mirroring with waves of savory, flint-streaked flavor. It finishes with tremendous length. This exceptional, age-worthy Chardonnay should rest in the cellar at least another 3-5 years."

$59.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($64.95 regular)

97 points Wine Advocate: "The 2019 Chardonnay Maresh Vineyard comes from Dijon clones planted in 1991, and it was matured in about 35% new oak. This vintage is pure and tensile, with scents of tarragon and fragrant herbs, beeswax and almonds, with plush white peach fruit. The palate combines intense ripe fruit with a spine of tangy, tense acidity, and it finishes with tremendous length. Allow it another 3-5 years in bottle."

$59.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($64.95 regular)

98 points Wine Advocate: "The aromas of the 2019 Chardonnay Dux Vineyard are alluring and savory, with ripe peach layers, beeswax, roasted almonds and pastry. The palate has a singular satiny texture and impressive concentration, enlivened by tangy acidity and streaks of graphite and finishing with tremendous length and energy. Wow!"

$59.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($64.95 regular)

98 points Wine Advocate: "The 2019 Chardonnay Oak Grove Vineyard has a unique personality that combines powerful exotic fruit with tangy energy and a shimmery saline quality, derived from a year's maturation in barrel and then stainless steel. Guava, peaches, lilac and beeswax aromas burst from the glass, and the textural palate, which continues to change and evolve as it spends time in the glass, demands your attention with its rich but precise fruit. This unabashedly hedonistic Chardonnay has the intensity and energy to age well, but that youthful, gregarious fruit is hard to resist!"

$59.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($64.95 regular)

97 points Wine Advocate: "Vojtilla is a small, four-acre vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains that sits at around 500 to 600 feet in elevation and, says Jim Maresh, is influenced by the nearby Willamette River. Harvested in October this vintage, the 2019 Chardonnay Vojtilla Vineyard comes from Dijon clone vines planted in 1991, and it was matured in about 25% new Damy barrels. It has a stunning perfume of quince paste and mushrooms, pastry and flowers, and the palate is satiny, plush and pure, with a seamless tangy streak and long, powerful finish."

More about Jim Maresh's Chardonnay in-take: "The fall of 2002 was when I first tasted White Burgundy. It was a 2000 Louis Latour Bourgogne Blanc and I knew then Chardonnay is my favorite grape without a close second. It remains the same today as Chardonnay laps its competition for my wine in-take followed by Pinot noir, Garganega and Chianti. It’s probably not a coincidence that I find Chardonnay to be the most fun grape to make wine out of. Often thought of as a blank canvas, Chardonnay demands a sharp winemaker’s stylistic influence. This is similar to a Caesar salad as it can either be the single greatest salad in the world or often the worst when not prepared thoughtfully.

While Pinot noir is about stepping back and showcasing the vines, Chardonnay needs to be clearly directed down its chosen stylistic path. Tan Fruit’s house style has been influenced by every great bottle of Chardonnay I’ve ever drank but especially every great Oregon Chardonnay. When I encounter great chardonnay I like to ‘get under the hood’ and send a sample to the lab for the numbers on everything. If it came from Oregon I like to call them and find out what they did and most likely I’ll start experimenting with it. The strategy has not been to invent anything but to identify what gets the best results and then do that. While experimentation continues and stylistic variables will evolve, I feel confident in the current process."

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