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Montinore Estate

Biodynamic Willamette Valley
Montinore Estate
These are exciting times for Rudy Marchesi’s Montinore Estate. Last year marked its first crop off their young Laughlin Road Ranch vineyard in Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The vineyard, planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, contains a patchwork of different soils, aspects, clones and rootstocks, ensuring Montinore stays ahead of Oregon’s changing and less predictable climate. “The old school vintages of the past have gone out the window,” according to head winemaker Stephen Webber, approaching his third decade at Montinore. While Webber can’t foresee what the future holds, he’s sure the Laughlin Road site will hold some answers.

Enough about the future. Here and now, this biodynamic pioneer’s vineyards are firing on all cylinders. For those new to this grower, the original estate vineyard was planted in 1982 in what is now known as the Tualatin Hills. This relatively young AVA of the larger Willamette Valley is nestled in the east-facing foothill of Oregon’s Coastal Range. Many of the mature vines here are on their own roots and supply Montinore Estate’s single-vineyard bottlings. In 2001, Marchesi purchased the Tidalstar Vineyard on the western edge of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Marchesi had a gut feeling that this site, with its marine origin soils and rising altitude, would grow brilliant Pinot Noir. His instinct has proved spot-on, and not a year after Montinore’s purchase, Burgundy giant Louis Jadot moved in next door.

In the cellar, simplicity is the mantra. The estate’s precise, biodynamic vineyard practices are reflected in the fruit quality, so Webber takes a hands-off approach to ensure the wines express their origin as best they can. He’s fastidious about picking dates, ensuring each parcel is harvested at optimal ripeness, and uses a host of vessels, including French and Hungarian oak of different sizes, concrete eggs, stainless steel and amphora. It’s an approach that pays off with interest.

The Wines

Montinore Estate Reserve Riesling 2019

Montinore Estate Reserve Riesling 2019

Another wonderfully bright, textural dry Riesling from Montinore. The 2019 season was cool, fresh and long, with mild spring conditions followed by a warm summer with a crisp ending. As a result, the Riesling fruit retained mouth-watering natural acidity while slowly reaching perfect ripeness and phenolic maturity.

Montinore Estate’s Riesling blocks are planted on a south-facing slope on the property overlooking Graham Lake. Fruit from these 40-year-old, own-rooted Geisenheim 68 clone vines is handpicked and whole cluster-pressed before cool fermentation in stainless-steel barrels. Once bottled, the wine is held back for up to two years before release.

It leads with aromas of white peach, citrus, sweet summer flowers and chalky freshness before a clean and pure palate brimming with mouth-watering zesty flavours, refreshing acidity and a lovely spice-flecked complexity. This is delicious and will also age beautifully over the coming years.

Montinore Estate Reserve Riesling 2019
Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2022

Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2022

After Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley’s second most widely planted variety is Pinot Gris (although Chardonnay is now on the march)! While some are pulling out Gris vines to replant to the more profitable Chardonnay, Montinore is doubling down—and with good reason. The combination of cool seasons and Laurelwood soils in the Tualatin Hills results in a style unique to Willamette Valley.

Montinore farms seven blocks of Pinot Gris, with an average age of 30 years. The vines are dispersed throughout the property, giving winemaker Stephen Webber a palette of flavours and structures to work with when piecing together the final blend. It fermented in stainless steel and was raised on its lees, undisturbed, for eight months.

The 2022 is a beautifully fresh and vibrant Gris, balancing intense pear, stone fruit and spice flavours with brisk acidity, ample fleshy weight and a bright, mineral-flecked finish. Fantastic on its own, this will shine all the brighter with the right food. Crispy skinned salmon or butter-basted roast chicken spring to mind—your call.

“This is a snappy Pinot Gris where the aromas and flavors of fresh hay and Granny Smith apples will put you in the mood for a barn dance. The brisk palate shows off flavors like spicy ginger, toasted filberts, mineral water and cedar. This will make a great house white to keep cold in the refrigerator.”
90 points, Michael Alberty, Wine Enthusiast
Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2022
Montinore Estate Red Cap Pinot Noir 2020

Montinore Estate Red Cap Pinot Noir 2020

Certified sustainable by LIVE. The 2020 season at Montinore was a game of two halves: at times challenging, at others ideal. After 18 years at the estate, winemaker Stephen Webber is well placed to roll with the punches and navigated the vagaries of the vintage (dry weather, meagre yields and a warm summer) with relative ease, turning out concentrated, complex and delicious wines.

The lion’s share (75%) of Montinore’s entry-level Pinot is drawn from their dry-farmed estate vines, with the balance coming from their sustainably farmed Tidalstar vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA to the south. Tidalstar, with its warmer microclimate and volcanic soils, brings juicy fruit weight to the perfumed, bright, silky Pinot from the home site. It’s a blend to enjoy from the word go. In the cellar, the fruit is destemmed and fermented in small, open-top steel vessels and matured in a mixture of stainless steel and French and Hungarian oak (20% new) for 10 months before bottling.

It's a bright, fruit-forward Pinot Noir, with the signature Montinore structure and brooding depth found throughout. Bursting with flavour, structure and energy, it’s an absolute cracker when considering the price.

“Notes of ripe cherries and dried cranberries with hints of toasted cloves and chocolate. Some ashes, too. Medium-bodied with juicy crunchiness and chalky tannin structure. Vivid acidity with fresh sour cherries at the end. Drink now. Screw cap.”
92 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
Montinore Estate Red Cap Pinot Noir 2020
Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2019

Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2019

The Reserve Pinot Noir is one of the estate’s flagship wines: an expression of the season and its best Pinot fruit. In 2019, three clones (Dijon, Pommard and Wadenswil) from four of the vineyard’s most prized blocks made the cut. Each block was destemmed and fermented separately in small open-top steel vessels to ensure full expression of clone and terroir. The final blend was assembled after maturation, which took place in French barriques (38% new) for 10 months.

The 2019 season was a challenging but classic Oregon vintage: cool, fresh and long, with mild spring conditions followed by a warm summer that finished quite crisp. This resulted in intensely concentrated Pinot Noir berries with lovely natural acidity and structural frame. In the words of winemaker Stephen Webber: “¬The 2019 Reserve Pinot Noir is a great representation of the best of the vineyard and a reflection of a delightful vintage.” As with the previous release, this gets better with air, so don’t be afraid to decant and allow this deep, brooding and complex Pinot Noir to unfurl in the glass.

“Dark plums, blueberries, crushed stones, cloves and chocolate orange on the nose. Tangy and chewy, with a medium body and tight, slightly dry tannins. Spicy finish. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification.”
91 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
“A handsome Pinot, with generous cherry and cranberry flavors that mingle with green tea and savory spices. Ends with refined tannins. Drink now through 2029.”
91 points, Tim Fish, Wine Spectator
Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2019

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