I've never been shy on opinions. Yet a challenge I've faced writing about wine is which opinions to commit to print. Part cautious, self-editing, diplomatic -- whichever reasons on whichever day -- much of my boldness is saved for face-to-face interactions.
Not today. There's plenty of boldness in the note below for Arterberry Maresh's 2017 Maresh Vineyard Pinot. No hyperbole, just the printed opinion from a guy who has tasted as much or more Oregon Pinot than anybody on the planet the last 15 years. Buy. This. Pinot. Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Pinot noir 2017
$62.05 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($68.95 regular)
The best smelling Pinot noir from the 2017 vintage and when you consider that 80% of what we taste comes from smell, I believe you're seeing the picture. It's everything red that I love, melded together in the most heavenly perfume. It expresses the pure beauty of Pinot noir like no other Willamette Valley wine: old vines, picked at the perfect time, treated the right way, unobscured by new oak, wonderfully balanced in its unstoppable fruit and elegant, buoyant freshness. As Jim Maresh has said many times, this exquisite, old vine fruit needs no makeup. It glows like a red sun over the Dundee Hills. From Jim's most prized blocks of Maresh Vineyard -- the fifth oldest in the Willamette Valley -- Blocks 3, 4, and 15, planted in 1972 and 1983. As crazy as it may sound, given which other Oregon wines occupy the space of $60, this wine is a bargain. - Marcus
Jim's notes: 2017 is often described as a change of pace and a classic Oregon vintage. A change from '14, '15 and '16 where we saw nothing but sunny blue skies until it was time to pick. A cool spring pushed older vineyards into a moderate amount of October hang time. A lot of clouds, some sun, some cold rain, picking windows opened and closed. The complexities of Oregon's weather in October adds complexity to the wines. They are the reddest color of any vintage produced not just to the eye but in flavor profile. We extracted very gently during fermentations. The 2017 Maresh Pinot noir is incredibly complex and proportioned exactly where we like without ever adjusting a barrel with water or acid. Aged for 20 months in older barrels adds to the length and seamless texture. The fruit is succulent and the structure is tender from ripening slowly under cloudy skies. The '17 is as undeniably great as the '16 and will drink a little earlier.
$79.15 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($87.95 regular)
My favorite Maresh Chardonnay in memory. It smells exactly like the Chardonnay I want to drink. Fresh, golden fruits join with mouthwatering lemon and apricot to create the perfect combo of voluminous and racy, with a gentleness that Jim attributes to the Wente clone.* Super-complete, mega-refreshing, kissed with lovely accents of jasmine, chamomile, fresh cream and flint. A Chardonnay rainbow with a pot of gold at each end.
4 barrels (100 cases) were made, exclusively from the 1974 and 1983 plantings of Wente clone Chard in Maresh Vineyard. *And as Jim said to us last week, "the only reason I care about clones is that it makes a big [ ] difference."
The perfect accompaniment to halibut, summer squash two ways, and a bunch of goodies from the market and our garden. - Marcus
Thanks so much for reading and for your enthusiastic support!
Purple Wine Company, Inc., a California limited liability company, and its AVALON brand are not in any way affiliated with Avalon Wine, Inc, an Oregon corporation, or Avalon Wine's store at its physical location in Oregon.
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