I ran this as a wine feature in December, and we sold out way too quick. Good news — I secured another 10 cases of the 2015 Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir Dundee Hills. From the same producer who made some of the highest rated wines of the epic 2014 vintage, this is the estate’s “entry-level” wine. There is nothing entry-level about it! The 2014 version of this wine was called “the bargain of the vintage” by the Wine Advocate — the 2015 is better! I snatched up the last ten cases that were available, and this one will be gone before you know it.
“During my stay in Oregon I was explaining to a couple of people about winemakers with “the knack.” They just get it. They know how to make great Pinot Noir seemingly effortlessly, and practice small things that make a big difference. And Jim Maresh has the knack, because despite his laidback attitude towards life, I reckon he’s not that way at all when it comes to his wines. You can’t make them this good without caring. What’s more, he told me how he sees no reason to price his wines so highly that people can’t enjoy them, a fiscal approach dichotomous to others, they make the error of setting price first and then making the wine to fit it.” – Neal Martin of The Wine Advocate summing up Jim Maresh’s philosophy and intuitive approach to making wine.
I met Jim Maresh 5 years ago for a tasting at his family’s old red barn at the top of the Dundee Hills. At this point, Jim was 27 or 28 years old, and he was already being called one of the best winemakers in the Willamette Valley. I was already a big fan of the wines, but meeting and tasting with Jim gave me an even deeper appreciation for the wines. One of my favorite parts of the meeting was when I asked Jim what he thought about all the acclaim he had been receiving as a winemaker. He chuckled and said that making great wine is easy……….just don’t mess with it. Though this might seem like a simplistic view of wine, it’s a philosophy that has been followed for hundreds of years by all of the great wineries of the world. Take care of your vineyards and you’ll get healthy grapes……….healthy grapes make great wines. The winemaker is the attentive, but not the overly intrusive parent. Jim Maresh lives by this philosophy and it seems to be working quite well for him.
Jim’s main focus is on single-vineyard, Dundee Hills Pinot Noirs, and his Maresh Vineyard bottling is consistently the top Pinot Noir produced in the state (I’ve got a little bit of that in stock too if interested). In years he declares less than great, he sells off barrels and lots that don’t make it into his single-vineyard bottlings. In great years, however, he bottles this wine with fruit from his family’s vineyard, supplemented with fruit from neighbors. Vintage 2015, much like 2014, was a great year. Like 2014, temperatures were hot, the sun was aplenty, and the grapes reached full maturity.
The 2015 Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir Dundee Hills is made with a blend of grapes from 6 top vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA (including some of that majestic Maresh Vineyard fruit). It pours a lovely translucent-ruby color and offers up aromas of dark cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and assorted spices to start. With about 15 minutes of air, the fruit really pops, but the secondary, savory, complex notes begin to emerge and intensify as the wine gets more air. Rhubarb, cinnamon, incense, and mushroom come to mind. The palate is energetic and medium bodied with fine tannin and perfectly integrated acidity. A beautifully elegant expression of the 2015 vintage, this is a wine to sip slowly and let the aromas and flavors develop, to enjoy with salmon or roast chicken, or to cellar for up to 10 years.
Owner/Operator at Table Wine