The Willamette Valley in northwestern Oregon is particularly known for its Pinot Noir. The McMinnville AVA is a subregion of that valley, said to be distinguished by its soil, rainfall, and climate. In 1997 Moe and Flora Momtazi bought 532 acres (over 200 hectares) of an abandoned wheat farm near McMinnville, Oregon and began planting grapes the following year. They made a commitment to biodynamic (that’s organic plus) wine. They do six Pinot Noirs including one costing in the mid to high eighties depending on vintage when purchased from their web site. Contact them for a destination wedding. The companion wine is a California Pinot Noir at less than half again the price.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Maysara Third Degree McMinnville Pinot Noir 2008 13.7 % alcohol about $21.
Let’s start with the marketing materials. “Tasting Note : From the youngest female winemaking team in the U.S. comes this certified biodynamically grown Pinot Noir. Flavors of cherry, pomegranate and fresh nutmeg are rounded out with elegant tannins and fine structure. This young wine – it could benefit from decanting – is drinkable now, but will continue to evolve over the next few years. Food pairings : Effortless – Brie; Dine Out and Delivery – Bacon cheeseburger; Special Occasion – Duck and wild mushroom risotto. (Angela Ortmann, FEAST Magazine (St. Louis), Sept. 2010.)” And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine was rich and mouth filling. Its acidity was almost sour. Japanese rice crackers rendered the liquid earthy, but its fruit seemed unripe. When paired with a barbecued chicken breast in a spicy skin this wine was powerful, oaky, and chewy. A commercial potato salad with celery and onions made Red a tasty liquid whose acidity was bang on. The other side dish was roasted eggplant brimming with garlic. Now this Pinot Noir became a tasty liquid and nothing more.
My next meal started with a homemade quiche including spinach, cottage cheese, onions, and Parmesan cheese boasting a sesame seed topping rendered the wine light with some cherries and a tinge of chocolate. The main dish was a baked Atlantic salmon filet that had been marinated in liquid soy, cumin, coriander, caraway, and red pepper. Our Oregon friend was acidic and not very flavorful. Later it became subtle, with the taste of chocolate and some metal building over time. It was long. When paired with peas and broccoli my glass’s contents weakened but I did get some black cherries.
The third meal focused on a slow-cooked round steak. Now the libation was full bodied and round but definitely too sweet. When paired with the dishes’ potatoes the drink generated the taste of chocolate and pomegranates but was once again too sweet. A few dollops of red cabbage salad containing too much mayonnaise brought the taste of tobacco and smoke into my glass. Lots of Chinese hot sauce on the meat managed to mute the wine’s excessive sugar. When paired with fruit juice candy the Pinot Noir was metallic, long, and dark. But it had an unpleasant sulphuric taste.
Final verdict. While some of the pairings were fairly good I have no intention of buying this wine again. And I have no intention of tracking down their top of the line Pinot Noir.Access the companion wine A California Pinot Noir (Under $10)
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
with a new weekly review of $10 wines and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
devoted to the issues of wine, weight loss, and health.
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com
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