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Food Pairings for Matello Whistling Ridge Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Oregon
From the Oregon Pinot Noir Club: Matello is one of the smallest wineries in Oregon, with total production of just about 500 cases. Proprietor Marcus Goodfellow is the current darling of the indie wine set in Portland. A former head bartender at the renowned Heathman Restaurant,Goodfellow is well known in food and beverage circles around Oregon. He's been making wine for a few vintages now, slowly ramping up production - and improving the quality of his winemaking. He learned his craft from David Autrey and Amy Wesselman of Westry, and he has used their facility to make his wine. (It's also why his other terrific bottling is called Hommage A & D). These days he's moved into a facility owned by Adea Winery and there makes wine for several label in addition to his own. With the '05 vintage, Marcus is made a move to break into the big-time. He scored fruit from Whistling Ridge Vineyard, which is in the new Ribbon Ridge AVA and right up on top of the hill next to Beaux Freres and Patty Green. It's a vineyard that Ken Wright used to use, and that other winemakers compete to acquire. For a small producer like Matello, getting those grapes is a bit of a coup. It was worth the effort. The '05 Whistling Ridge was clearly the best wine to come from Matello at that point, and showed me that he has the winemaking chops to handle high-class fruit. That wine was pure, fruit-driven and impeccably balanced. This month's World Class Selection is the gorgeous '06 version of the same wine. Still made in minute quantities, this wine is an uncommon find. It's completely hand-made, of course. While the '06 vintage is somewhat over done is some cases - sweet, soft wines are abundant - this wine shows the balance of fruit picked at the point of perfect balance. It's brimming with ripe fruit flavors, but it is not over ripe. It's got texture and some fine structure, too - it is certainly not a soft, gooey wine. And it's lengthy, in that desirable elegant-yet-powerful manner where the fruit never over powers the palate, but also never stops pumping out flavor. It's a session wine, where drinking more than one glass is pleasurable rather than onerous. It's a bit of a baby now. I drank a bottle at dinner, but this is going to continue to put on weight and flesh for at least the next year, I'd guess. (The '05, if you have one, is in amazing shape right now.) So, decant and drink if you must, but cellar if you can. Finally, for pinot noir purists who like it old-school, this is one to collect.
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