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.
2016 vintage notes
There's a lot of math here, but the take-home message is that there's a small fraction available compared to previous vintages -- only 371 cases produced, compared to 1200 the last couple vintages, 56 of which are being held for the fourth generation of Maresh wine-growers, Jimmy Maresh Jr., as 2016 is his birth year. After spending four days with the wine, I'm confident it will go the distance. - Marcus
96 points Wine Advocate: "This wine comes from Pinot Noir vines planted in the early 1970s. Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Maresh Vineyard is scented of lilac, violet, pure strawberry jam, rhubarb and cranberry sauce with layers of warm earth, red and black licorice and exotic spice. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the mouth with warm red cherries, strawberry and rhubarb jam notions and wonderful accents of dried violets, earth, licorice and spice. It has very, very fine, grainy tannins and juicy mouthwatering acidity, finishing epically long with spiced warm red fruits. This just sings! 371 cases produced.
The 2016 Pinot Noirs from Arterberry Maresh offer amazing layers of sweet, precise fruits, exotic spices and earth—everything you want from great Pinot Noir. They’re concentrated and jam-packed with flavor while still maintaining excellent grainy tannic structure and very juicy acidity, not to mention they age beautifully. Jim Maresh is also crafting some beautiful Chardonnays, some of the most exciting Chardonnays I have tasted from Oregon. Jim attributes much of his success to his fruit, which comes from old vines planted by his family in the early 1970s and are entirely dry farmed."
From the winery: 2016 is the birth year of Jimmy Maresh Jr. and this will be his birthday wine. This bottling comes entirely from Block 3 - The greatest block of grapes on Maresh vineyard. Typically a darker shade of red fruit, extreme depth and complexity. Very powerful yet the lightest on it's feet. There are vines all around Block 3 but nothing comes close to the elegant power it delivers year after year. People try to figure it out but there are too many variables in play, this is mystical fruit. After a poor fruit set in June we saw crop levels down 25% with loose clusters. The growing season started early and stayed very warm through the summer until September when it cooled down to allow ideal slow ripening conditions where flavors ran fast and sugars moved slow. 2016 provided grapes bordering on perfect to create the best set of wines we have ever made.
2015 vintage notes
94 points Vinous: "Sexy, high-pitched red berry, incense and candied rose scents are complemented by a smoky mineral aspect and a hint of star anise. Sappy and focused in the mouth, offering energetic raspberry liqueur, bitter cherry, blood orange and floral pastille flavors that put on weight and become sweeter with air. Conveys a suave blend of power and vivacity and closes on a subtly tannic note, displaying outstanding focus and floral-driven persistence." - Josh Raynolds
2014 vintage notes
95 points Wine Advocate, the top scoring Oregon wine: "The 2014 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir has a beautiful bouquet with wonderful precision. The vine age does show through here (44-years-old now) with crisp detailed red berry fruit that just exudes Pinoté. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very well-judged acidity, touches of truffle and undergrowth tincturing the red berry fruit that fans out wonderfully towards the long and satisfying finish. This is a great Pinot Noir from an estate that seems to have thrived in 2014."
Wow. Our fortune-telling skills were spot on. We learned that the highest scoring wine of the 556 in Wine Advocate's Oregon report, published June 30, is the wine we recommended June 29: Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Pinot noir 2014. 95 points!
We have no crystal ball -- just good taste.
Since I sat down with Jim Maresh Friday afternoon, I've been thinking about all the facets that make the 2014 Maresh Vineyard Pinot so exceptional, things ranging from mundane to esoteric. I've decided there's really just one factor that counts: this, this is Oregon Pinot noir.
The elegance of old vines, the purity of fruit unobstructed by make-up or technique. This is why Oregon Pinot continues to inspire me.
Soaring, mesmerizing aromas that transport you to the sun-baked Red Hills of Dundee. The Holy Grail of grace and generosity, where you can have succulent fruit, floating on silk, intertwined with vibrant freshness. True harmony exists through a melding of fruit, spice, floral tones, and that ethereal, indescribable sweetness of Pinot noir that is a hallmark of Arterberry Maresh wines.
Very few Oregon Pinot noirs can boast the vine age of Maresh Vineyard; it is the fifth oldest vineyard in the Willamette Valley and in the hands of Jim Maresh, it is the real deal.
Since it was bottled recently, I recommend holding 4-6 months before trying your first bottle; it will drink beautifully between then and 2026. - Marcus
2013 vintage notes
Jim Maresh was incredibly picky with his 2013 single vineyard Pinot noirs. He selected just seven (7!) barrels, all from Maresh Vineyard, for a single vineyard Pinot and declassified the rest.
2012 vintage notes
Imagine a mythical melding of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Maresh Vineyard and you begin to understand the multifaceted amazing-ness of the 2012. The fruit structure and intensity of 2008, the forwardness of the 2009, and the balanced elegance of the 2010. Sappy, vinous, floral and perfumed fruit aromas are gorgeous. Sweet and electrifying black cherry plunges deeper to a dark berry base note. The wine stays ultra vibrant and fresh thanks to a subtle citrus accent and a sprinkling of fresh thyme that marries with the fruit. From some of the Willamette Valley's oldest vines, planted in 1970, '74, and '83. Commanding and compelling today but considerably better on day two, I anticipate it will be ideal beginning in 2018, if you have the patience.
Undoubtedly one of Oregon's top producers and top vineyards. - Marcus