Montinore Estate – About the wines

Montinore Vineyards Entrance

Continuing our conversation with Rudy Marchesi at Montinore Estate

 After looking over the Willamette Valley AVA map and having Rudy give us some background on the soils and the impact of the Missoula floods we sat with him to talk about how these soils influence the wines at Montinore Estate.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is very expressive and Rudy told us that pinot grown in the windblown loess here tend to be brighter, with berry flavors rather than the cherry notes that are so often associated with pinot noir. The pinots here also are very spicy with baking spices.

They produce several different Pinot Noirs here.  Here is a sampling.  I can’t promise that I have not missed one.

  • “Red Cap” Pinot Noir:  This is a blend from all the vineyards giving you multiple areas and soil types blended into one bottle. 
  • Reserve Pinot Noir:  Again from multiple sites but all within the estate. These are the best blocks and lots. They ferment and age separately and then blend the best.
  • Parsons’ Ridge Pinot Noir:  This vineyard block sits on a part of the vineyard where the vines face two different directions.  The lots, as they are different, are fermented separately and then blended.
  • Keeler Estate Pinot Noir:  This is a 25 acres Biodynamic vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills that they source from.  This gives you another opportunity to taste and compare the terroir.
  • Windy Hill Pinot Noir: This comes from the Southern part of the Valley and is influenced by the winds of the Van Duzer Corridor.
  • Cataclysm Pinot Noir: Comes from their Block 1 which has mineral rich soils.  They pick the most expressive barrels from this block to make this wine.

Pinot Gris

 He finds the white wines to actually be more distinctive.  Pinot gris grown in the Missoula flood loess, is very complex.  Rather than apple and pear, they get citrus and herbal notes. In warmer years there will be tropical notes.  Always he finds pinot gris here to have lots of texture.


The riesling he find distinctive, but without as much difference although he feels sure some might disagree.


Chardonnay is new here.  They had quite a bit planted early on, but it was the clone brought up from California.  This clone was a late ripener and had tight clusters which were prone to rot.  It was a great clone when there was good weather in a vintage, but that was about 1out of every 4 years.

They have now planted the new Dijon clone, which has looser clusters and is an earlier ripening clone.  They are back in the Chardonnay business in a small way.  He is encouraged by the quality, but it’s too soon to know what they will get stylistically from the vineyards with these clones.  They will need a few more vintages to figuring this out.


They are currently producing a prosecco style bubbly, and have a Traditional Methode Champenoise Sparkling wine of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which is yet to be released.

Other Varieties

In addition they are growing bits of Teroldego and Lagrein, Gerwürztraminer and Müller Thurgau.

Blends and specialty wines

You will find Rosé, Orange wine, fortified wine (Ruby), Ice wine (Frolic) and Verjus also on their wine line-up which is very diverse, having something for every palate.

Everything here is done on site, and they try to be as Estate as possible.  The 2016 Pinot got away from 100% Estate because they had too much demand and had to contract a couple of other growers.

Speaking with Rudy and walking the winery, you can see the pride they take in making the best possible wines here.

You can learn a bit about the estate with our posts.

And check back here as we will next talk to Rudy about Biodynamics before heading with him to the cellar for a tour and barrel tasting.

If you are in the Willamette Valley stop by and give the wines a taste for yourself.  You can find them a:

Montinore Estate
3663 SW Dilley Road
Forest Grove, Oregon 97116

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Vista Hills Vineyard and the Uncommon Wine Festival 2018

Sunset over the vines at Vista Hills Vineyard in the Dundee Hills

Vista Hills was the setting for the “Uncommon Wine Festival” that we’ve been talking about so much. This years was the 9th annual and before heading down there we had a chance to speak with Dave Petterson, Vista Hills Winemaker about the festival and how it got started.

The Uncommon Wine Festival at Vista Hills Vineyard – The Mega Mix

The day itself was spectacular, not too hot, not too cold. The vineyards were beautiful, the wines were flowing, there was even a group on horseback that stopped by the festival, before continuing their ride through the vineyards.  And of course there were makers of “uncommon” wine there to talk and taste with.  Enjoy our Mega Mix of the day!

While we couldn’t catch Dave during the festival, we did have a chance to taste a few of his “Uncommon Wines”

2017 Fool’s Gold Blanc de Noir

100% Pinot Noir, this blanc de Noir gets pressed and gets no time on the skin, which allows for this lovely light coppery color. They fement it with a champagne yeast. They only made 121 cases of this wine.

The grapes come from their newest vineyard block that was planted just 10 years ago in 2008. Block L sits are around 720 feet. This is all Dijon clone 115.

2016 Rumble Seat Pinot Gris Rose

Rumble Seat 2016 Pinot Gris Rosé from Vista Hills

Rumble Seat 2016 Pinot Gris Rosé from Vista Hills

They call it a Pinot Gris Rosé, but it is really made in the style of an Orange Wine. You can’t find this on their site anymore. It is incredibly popular with their wine club and disappears quickly. Luckily, we snagged a bottle at the festival. As with all their bottles, it comes with a story.

Rumble Seat 2016 Pinot Gris Rosé from Vista Hills

Rumble Seat 2016 Pinot Gris Rosé from Vista Hills label detail and story

2017 Duchess Pinot Noir Rose

Duchess 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé from Vista Hills

Duchess 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé from Vista Hills

This wine is truly “Uncommon” the nose is cotton candy. Not what I normally look for in a wine, but…it was weird and fascinating. So, yeah, we left with a bottle of that too. Here’s it’s story.

Duchess 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé from Vista Hills label and story

Duchess 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé from Vista Hills label and story

The day was truly spectacular and the opportunity to meet and speak with all of these winemakers was once in a lifetime, well, until next year and the 10th annual “Uncommon Wine Festival”.

Take a visit to our page filled with all the fabulous winemakers that we met at the Uncommon Wine Festival filled with photos and interviews.

And for more information on Vista Hills Vineyard visit their website at

Update:  As we were finishing up this post yesterday in preparation to release this morning, the news broke that the Coppola Family was buying Vista Hills.  You can read about the acquisition here

We wish everyone at Vista Hills all the best and thank them for creating an Amazing Event with the Uncommon Wine Festival, as well as for creating beautiful wines and a magical place in the “Treehouse” to taste them.

read all about the Winemakers

Don’t forget to check back with us here at Crushed Grape Chronicles as we continue to explore Oregon Wine Country. And don’t forget, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The call of Natural Wine

Natural Wines

I ran by the farmers market to drop something to a friend, say hello and then grab a quick and delicious lunch. I love the farmers markets. Finding the season fresh produce, meeting the farmers and hearing their stories. You walk through the market and smell the season, peaches or citrus, greens or spices…today I had planned to be in and out quickly, but then…someone said wine, natural wine and Mathieu pulled out 6 bottles and asked if I had a minute to hear about them. They will be starting a wine club soon and bringing in natural wine. It doesn’t hurt that Mathieu is handsome with a beautiful French accent (he also makes extraordinary preserves). And today he had a selection of Natural Wines, as well as a beer and a hard pear cider.


Natural Wines

Mathieu and the Natural Wines at the Intuitive Forager Farm Shop

Mathieu gave us a quick overview on the wines which got my brain going, so of course I researched further, so you will get some additional insights I dug up on the stories behind the wines, winemakers and wineries.

Costadila Bianco

Vino Frizzante da Tavola

Veneto Italia

Natural Wine Natural Prosecco

Costadila Bianco Vino Frizzante da Tavola A Natural Prosecco

Costadila means “the hillside over there”.  This winery was founded in 2006 by a group of partners.  Their mission statement is “Articoltura” – Art, Agriculture and Culture.  Their goal was to re-invigorate the agricultural traditions of Tarzo a municipality in the Province of Treviso in the region of Veneto.  Everything here is farmed organically and they grow more than grapes.  The emphasis here is on polyculture with fruits, grains, vines, vegetables and livestock.

This particular natural wine is a Natural Prosecco.  They do not add sulphur and the wine is shipped un-disgorged as you see in the photo (note all the sediment, that’s the dead yeast, in the bottom). This wine is fermented with native yeast until completely dry.  They then bottle it with passito grapes that are dried for a secondary fermentation.

The note at the bottom of the label (280 sml) indicates the elevation in meters where these vines grew.


Vino Bianco


Natural Wine Orange Wine

Dinavolino Vino Bianco from Denavolo in Italy

This is an Orange wine from Denavolo.  Mathieu tells us that it is made in amphoras in the ground and undergoes a 21 day maceration period, mixed with a stick.  The visions that I have of that seem prehistoric, so I did some more research.

For a little primer on Orange Wines, here is Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly!

I have tasted Orange wine at Le Cuvier in Paso Robles where the legendary John Munch is the “Co-owner, Wine Herd/Winemaker & Elliptical Pontificator” (please click through and read his bio,it will make you chuckle).  Tasting these wines for the first time you might find the taste and nose decidedly unexpected and those winemakers who choose to make them, well…they are decidedly unexpected also.

So indeed, Orange wines are made with white grapes in amphoras or Kvevri, typically placed in the ground with just the lid above.  The grapes get lots of lovely skin contact, which gives them that orange color.

Giulio Armani’s orange wines come from grapes grown high up in the hills of Emilia-Romagna near Piacenza These vineyards grow very small berries so the ratio of skin to must is high.  This wine is a blend of Marsanne, Malvasia (di Candia Aromatica) & Otrugo (or Piancentino).

He produces several other wines (he grew up making wine at La Stoppa from age 12!), and is constantly experimenting.


Domaine de Majas

2015 Rouge

Natural wine from Cotes Catalanes


Natural Wine Red Wine from France

Domaine de Majas 2015 Rouge Cotes Catalanes

Tom Lubbe was born in New Zealand and grew up in South Africa.  He worked at the only South African Estate that used indigenous yeasts and encouraged low yields (ie low yields better grapes).  He did an internship at Domaine Gauby, and ended up marrying the owners daughter.  He and Gerard Gauby then started Domaine Matassa making wines from the indigenous grapes in Cotes de Catalans.  Then he met Alain Carrere owner of Domaine Majas, together they made the vineyard biodynamic, went to all indigenous yeast, no manipulation and very little sulphur.

Rene Redzepi of Noma (named multiple times the “world’s best restaurant”) did an entire menu paired with the Domaine de Majas wines.

This wine is Carignan with perhaps a bit of Grenache.  They are picked early to keep the acidity higher.

I want to be sterotyped

Carbonic Cabernet Franc

Southold Farm & Cellars Long Island NY

Natural Wine Carbonic Cabernet Franc

I want to be stereotyped Carbonic Cabernet Franc from Southhold Farm & Cellars Long Island

So this is a Carbonic Cabernet Franc made in Long Island.  Yep, Long Island New York.  This winery has quite the story.

But first..Carbonic wine…Carbonic masceration is a technique used for Beaujolais.  Simply put it is fermenting whole grapes in carbon dioxide before crushing them.  If you want to be more sciency…well Ask had the most satisfying answer that I came across. Now onto the winery story.

Southold Farm + Cellar was a family affair.  Regan & Carey met working in Manhattan and returned to Carey’s hometown to start the adventure of telling the story of this place through wine.  Southold Farm is in Southold, New York on the Northfork of Long Island.

With some whimsical and beautiful labels they created 2013 Cast your fate to the wind (Whole Cluster Cab Franc), 2013 Devil’s Advocate (Old Vine Chardonnay), 2015 Trust the Pain Langrein, 2015 Quiet Explosions (Teroldego) and sparkling wines Chasing Moonlight Sparkling (Langrein), 2015 You Pretty Things (Syrah/Goldmuskateller Pet-Nat) and then of course I don’t want to be stereotyped (Carbonic Cabernet Franc).  The names and labels create a lightness and depth of feeling at the same time.

This story is on hold right now.  The town of Southold denied their request for a single variance on their property.  They made the decision that they could not sustainably run their small business there.  They took a step back and looked at where to go to from there.  They are moving their family and the Winery to the Texas Hill Country.  So cherish those bottles if you have them and we will keep our ears to the ground and track their progress.

Le Communard

Fausse Piste

Natural Wine from Portland, Oregon

Natural Wine Blend

Le Communard Fausse Piste from Oregon

Jesse Skiles grew up in the Pacific Northwest.  A Chef by trade he became a winemaker.  He graduated from CIA and worked at Owen Roe Winery as well as being the Chef at Savage.  A blend of Gerwurtztraminer, Gruner Veltliner & Riesling from a cooler climate, this is a dry white wine.   It is basket pressed with native fermentation and extended aging on the lees.  You can find the tasting room at 537 SE Ash St. in Portland.




Natural Hard Pear Cider

Poire Authentique; Natural French pear cider by Eric Bordelet

Before 1992, Eric Bordelet was the Sommelier at Arpege, Alain Passard’s Restaurant in Paris.  In 1992 that changed when he took over the running of his family’s property in Normandy.  The location is in the south of Normandy on sedimentary rock that dates back to the Precambrian era.  Two thirds of the orchards are 40-50 years old, the remainder were planted in 1992.  He has 20 varieties of apple and 15 varieties of pears grown bio-dynamically.

These are small hard “authentic” fruit.  Think of the original crab apples in the United States.  They had pick and then dehydrate the fruit for several weeks before grinding and pressing them.  They settle and rack.  He calls these “Sydre” or “Sidre” reaching back for earlier spellings of the word cider.

The Poire Authentique made from pears (Poire=Pear in French).  and is 4% alcohol by volume.


Biere Artsanale de Touraine

Brasserie de la Pigeonnelle

Natural French Beer

Loirette Biere Artsanal de Touraine from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle

On to beer.  This Biere Artisanale de Touraine is called Loirette.  The brewery was started by the Hardouin brothers on their family property in Touraine, where they brought in their love of Belgian beers.  The Loire is plentiful in natural growers so they began by only using organic barley and grain.  They now make several wines as Brasserie de la Pigeonnelle

This Loirette is a simple farmhouse ale.

I look forward to finding these regularly now at the Market as well as others.  I have been fascinated with Natural wines, and am thrilled to have a local source to find them.

Check back here at Crushed Grape Chronicles for more on natural wines and details on the Farmers Market Wine Club!   You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram