We’ve now tasted Goodfellow’s Whistling Ridge 2014 a half-dozen times and are convinced its entering the “showy” window. Decidedly on the elegant and ethereal side of Ribbon Ridge, there’s still no taming the exuberant fruit of the vintage. Deeply yet subtly spiced, with complexities gained from whole cluster fermentation and nearly 25 year-old dry-farmed vines, this red and black fruited beauty also features lovely mineral elements in the aromas and finish.
Whistling Ridge Vineyard’s 15 acres date back to 1990, when Richard Alvord and Patricia Gustafson planted Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot gris in the very shallow marine sedimentary soils on Ribbon Ridge. Named after the persistent evening breeze that arrives every afternoon through the late summer and fall, these influences provide Goodfellow Family Cellars with their most complex, structured, and savory fruit.
The 2014 Whistling Ridge Pinot Noir exemplifies the terroir of the site. The nose is aromatically complex, red and black fruits, are layered over savory notes of underbrush, kitchen herb, and mineral density. Acid and tannins are old world in profile. This wine has great range with food, wild mushrooms, pork, chicken, or game would all work very well. Drink between 2016-2036.
Above, we wrote that Marcus Goodfellow’s winery is neither a newcomer nor a pioneer, and we don’t at all mean for that to be damning with faint praise, or anything like it. Marcus wears both hats with aplomb: he’s not a part of the “old guard” of Oregon winemakers but his wisdom and thoughtfulness are second to none. We love tasting with him and sending customers to the winery — he’s as gifted at explaining intricacies of wine as he is making it.
I once asked him about the vineyards he works with and without hesitation, he came up with this football-based analogy: “It's my Cam Chancellor, the quiet guy who puts the Boom in the Legion of Boom. Whistling Ridge Vineyard is directly above and beside two of Oregon's heavy hitter vineyards, sharing property lines with the Beaux Freres vineyard and Patricia Green Cellars Estate vineyard. It's one of Oregon's greatest white wine sites, and the Pinot Noir is both elegant and structurally powerful.”
Goodfellow Family Cellars produces wine only from sustainably farmed, non-irrigated, old vines; they seek to produce intense, site specific wines with an old world intensity and character. The winemaking is traditional: no cold soaks, no yeast inoculation, whole cluster ferments, long aging.