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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Presqu’ile Winery, Key to Wine Country Weekend – Pinot Noir

Presqu'ile WInery Hilltop, Santa Maria Valley

We continue with the third segment of the Key to Wine Country event held at Presqu’ile Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara County. Held on the crush pad high atop the Presqu’ile gravity flow winery, we had the opportunity to taste wines made by 4 different winemakers, all from grapes grown on the Presqu’ile Vineyard. After side by sides of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, we moved onto Pinot Noir of which there were 5 to taste.

In this section we taste through the Presqu’ile 2012 Pinot Noir made by Presqu’ile Winemaker Dieter Cronje as well at 2 Pinots from Luceant Luminesce a 2011 and a 2012.

The Presqu’ile 2012 Pinot Noir was done with whole clusters and spent 18 months in neutral oak. It was fascinating to do a side by side with Kevin Law’s 2011 and 2012 Luceant Luminesce Pinot Noirs. Again all the grapes are from Presqu’ile Vineyard. 2011 was a cooler year and Kevin used 1/3 whole cluster and 25% new oak for this vintage, as opposed to the 2012 which was bigger. The 2012 vintage he went 75% whole cluster and 50% new oak. It’s amazing to see the difference a vintage can make as well as the differences created by the amount of whole cluster press and oak which can impart tannins and other flavors.

Kevin was the lone American on the panel.  He jokes when the get to him “I don’t have an accent”.  His wines have previously been produced under the Luminesce label but they have had to relinquish that name. In the interim you will see them often listed as Luceant Luminesce as they segue into their new name Luceant. Before opening his label, he spent 7 years as the assistant winemaker at Tantara. He is soft spoken and you won’t find him out on social media. This humble winemaker spends all his time pushing to make greater wines. The differences in his two Pinots were many, but they were both beautiful expressions of their vintage and style.

for More Conversations check out our Dirt to Glass Page

One facet of Paso Robles “Terroir” – lets start with the dirt.

Tablas Creek Soil

There are so many variables in wine and plenty just within the vineyard.

A Vineyards “Terroir” or sense of place come from the weather, the location of the vines on slopes for more or less sun, coastal influences, temperature fluxuations, cover crops, and soil.

After our recent trip to Paso Robles I was curious about the calcareous soil and the differences between the soil types for east side and west side vineyards.  So we will explore that here today.  The subject is complex and I will only deal with some of the basics, but I will happily provide links for further information.

Paso Robles sits south of San Francisco and North of LA.  Well, that’s pretty basic isn’t it?  This area is considered California’s Central Coast.  Paso’s west side begins just 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  The Santa Lucia Mountains give us the western border.  The AVA is about 35 miles east to west and 25 north to south.  That encompasses 614,000 acres of land about 26,000 of that planted in vineyards.

There are over 45 different soil types found in this area and they tend to be mixed!  You can find vineyard blocks whose soils vary row to row.

Tablas Creek Soil

Tablas Creek Soil

So what makes the really good stuff?  Well these days in Paso especially on the west side you will hear quite a bit about the Calcareous soils.  This soil is limestone based and comes from this land at one time being an ocean floor.  Whale bone Winery is named for the actual whale bones that they unearthed when they were planting their vineyard.  All of this ancient sea bed was pushed up with the mountain ranges by the geological plates.

On Paso’s westside you find huge chunks of limestone.  As the limestone gets wet it becomes softer and chalkier and the roots of the vines can then push through and did deep to get to water.  The limestone rock also holds heat from the 100 degree days keeping the vines warm at night when the temperatures drop to 45 degrees.  This soil type is similar to that of Chateau-neuf de Pape which is what brought the Perrin Family here with the Haas family to grow Rhone varietals here in California at their Tablas Creek Winery.  These Calcareous soils also have soil pH of 7.4 to 8.6 and this is not found in other areas of California.  This higher pH is helpful in that it increases the availability of phosphorus and nitrogen. Calcium based soils retain water well but do not become water logged during heavy rains.  High pH in calcium rich soils has been shown to help maintain acidity late in the growing season.  So you can increase the hang time to get riper fruit without sacrificing acid!

On the east side of Paso you find loamier soils due to the Salinas River that runs between the east and west side.  With fewer hills this soil tends to be more fertile and easier to cultivate as the hills roll rather than having steep hills.  With less limestone in the soils the pH is lower and as such more hang time can compromise the acidity of a wine.

Okay, so I sound like a commercial for Calcareous soil.  Now let me tell you a little about the east side soils.

There is still calcareous soil on the east side, but it is mixed with clay and sandy loam.  Gravely and clay loam make for great drainage and cause low vine vigor which intensifies the flavor in the berries. Nacimiento – Los Osos complex  soil is found often on the east side.  These complex soils are well drained but are relatively poor and have chalky or gravelly components.  Due to the heat on this side you find more of the big bold varieties grown here such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Petite Sirah.

So is one soil type better than another?  It depends on the grape, the vineyard climate and sun, and the winemaker.  Soil is another one of the many components in creating wine.

For more information on the soils of Paso Robles look for the book Paso Robles: An American Terroir or just about anything written by Dr. Thomas Rice who teaches at Cal Poly.  Some of his work can be found here