WINE ENTHUSIAST Says "Oregon Wine is the Best..."

Matt was recently interviewed by Paul Gregutt of the Wine Enthusiast for an article about the sommeliers' darling — Oregon Riesling. To celebrate all our Rieslings will be 20% off on the website until the end of September. CHEERS!

Oregon Riesling is the Best in the West

Great examples of Riesling are produced in California, Washington and British Columbia. But one critic believes Oregon's current offerings can't be beat.

BY PAUL GREGUTT

In recent decades, Oregon has gained global recognition as a leader in Pinot Noir. But such laser focus comes at a price—many wine drinkers don’t realize that Oregon grows about as many different types of grapes as Washington and California.

One standout that flies under the radar is Oregon Riesling.

It’s true that Washington is home to the world’s largest Riesling producer by volume, Chateau Ste. Michelle. California winemakers have scored successes at both the dry and sweet ends of the scale, and British Columbia has been producing some crystalline and racy examples. However, Oregon’s many Riesling specialists offer more diversity, value and quality than anywhere on the West Coast.

“People didn’t know what to make of it. Perhaps they had Blue Nun in their youth, and as their tastes grew, they shied away from all Riesling.” —Terry Brandborg, Brandborg Vineyard & Winery

Old vines have been key to the state’s current success. Oregon’s Pinot pioneers often planted Riesling as well to keep up cash flow as their red wines aged. Matt Berson of Love & Squalor calls these early efforts “overcropped, one-note plonk.” That’s a bit harsh, but there’s some truth to it.

Nonetheless, we should thank those accidental Riesling pioneers. Old-vine examples seem to show more nuanced scents and flavors, as is true with old-vine Pinot Noir.

“I find that the older-vine Riesling tends toward a more natural balance, and there is no doubt that those deep roots pull some really precise and delineated flavors,” says Berson.

Then there is terroir. Oregon’s Riesling vines are scattered from the deep southwest corner of the state up to the northern edge of the Willamette Valley. Soils vary significantly, but what distinguishes them is the maritime influence that avoids the baking desert heat of eastern Washington. Many vines are also dry-farmed, which pushes roots deeper.

Given their explorations of clonal selections for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it’s no surprise that Oregon’s winemakers are also doing the same for Riesling.

Trisaetum’s James Frey says the state’s Riesling plantings were dominated by two German clones: Clone 9 from Rheingau and Clone 12 from Pfalz. He credits Chehalem’s Harry Peterson-Nedry for his experimentation with new clones.

Frey currently grafts new Riesling clones from the Mosel, Rheingau, Pfalz and Alsace in his Coast Range and Ribbon Ridge vineyards.

Single-vineyard cuvées, native yeast ferments and experiments with concrete eggs also contribute to the region’s amazing diversity. Trisaetum produces up to 10 Rieslings each year, while Janie Heuck at Brooks made 20 in 2016, mostly single-vineyard cuvées.

“The goal is to show differences in wine characteristics due to vine age, soil type, aspect and elevation,” says Heuck.

Oregon wines can age quite well. The better Pinots can often go 20 years, and Oregon Chardonnays can even outperform Burgundies. Riesling is a grape born to age, and winemakers seek to prolong the drinking window of their bottlings.

The first vintage of Brooks Riesling was 1998, and it still drinks young, says Heuck. Brandborg’s first Oregon vintage was 2002, and, he says it’s drinking beautifully right now.

Bill Hooper, of Weinbau Paetra, learned winemaking in Germany, and he uses that experience as a model for his work. Berson points to the acid structure of the wines, which “provides a scaffolding (like tannins in a red) to hang the fruit and all other flavors from. As the wine ages, the sharp edges smooth and allow the complexity of secondary and tertiary notes to shine through.”

Based on his German training, Hooper says, “At around 15 years, Riesling [vines] really starts to establish itself in a way where terroir expression and the overcoming of extreme weather conditions is achieved. Many German producers will wait until this time to declare single-vineyard wines.”

Despite its quality and value, Riesling remains a minor player in Oregon, with just 724 planted acres as of 2015, half in the Willamette Valley. But as producers like Brandborg, Brooks, Chehalem, Love & Squalor, Paetra, Trisaetum and others squeeze the best out of their grapes, it’s arguably the most versatile and exceptional white wine in the state.

 

http://www.winemag.com/2017/08/21/oregon-riesling-is-the-best-in-the-west/

Best 100 wines of 2016 says Wine Enthusiast. Guess who’s #53?!

#53

Love & Squalor 2013 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)


93 Points Editors’ Choice

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A sensational value, this is a Pinot lover's wine, beginning with the gorgeous color of a deep red/orange sunset. Cherries, chocolate, and a light touch of orange peel elevate the aromatics and inform the well-integrated midpalate. The wine lingers gracefully through an immaculate finish.

You can buy the wine online here (click)

The article can be seen here: http://www.winemag.com/toplists/top-100-wines-2016/

WHAT?! A Rosé of Gewürztraminer? Here's a nice review...

Great Northwest Wines review of Love & Squalor 2015 A Frayed Knot Rosé of Gewürztraminer, Willamette Valley

One of the leaders of Portland’s urban wine scene, Matt Berson, finally has answered the pleas of his peeps and given them a rosé — and he chose 30-year-old Gewürztraminer from prized Sunnyside Vineyard near Oregon’s state capital. Foot-pressed fruit grown by Lucille Wisniewski and Tom Owens produces an intriguing pink that could at first look be mistaken for a Pinot Gris rosé where it not for the tropical nose of lychee, rosewater and kiwi with peach pie and honey. That exotic blend of fruit makes it way to the palate with a dry approach, picking up hints of strawberry and peach skin with a lingering finish that blends pink grapefruit with tangerine. That he tagged this #orangeisthenewrosé bodes well for a 2016 version.

Rating: Excellent
Production: 110 cases
Alcohol: 13%

By Great Northwest Wine on October 1, 201 

Great Northwest Wines Says We Are "Outstanding"

Great Northwest Wines latest review on our Love & Squalor 2012 Ansty Pants Riesling, Willamette Valley

You can see it here: http://www.greatnorthwestwine.com/2016/10/18/love-squalor-2012-antsy-pants-riesling-willamette-valley-28/

The Portland Wine Company’s reserve-style dry Riesling continues to focus on four-decade-old Brooks Vineyard in the cooler Eola-Amity Hills, but this vintage debuts an inclusion from Sunnyside Vineyard, an even older site planted in 1971. Matt Berson’s expression from the 2012 vintage continues with the residual sugar at (0.6%), and here there’s a great presentation of acidity. Rich aromas of baked pear with cinnamon, peach pie, apricot glacéed and jasmine lead to luscious flavors of ripe white peach and dried pineapple. It’s fruity, yet capped with a touch of slate for a food-friendly finish.

Rating: Outstanding!
Production: 59 cases
Alcohol: 11%

By Great Northwest Wine on October 18, 2016  

Portland Magazine's top 50 wines

Guess who is in the top 50 wines chosen by Portland Monthly Magazine— Check out #33! 
hint: Love & Squalor Riesling

http://www.pdxmonthly.com/articles/2016/9/13/oregon-s-50-best-wines

33. Love & Squalor
2013 Riesling. 
Willamette Valley, $20
Grapefruit zest and crabapple. Mouth-watering acidity that makes your mouth pop. Earthy. Textural and aggressive. Pair with: choucroute garnie

Here's what Great Northwest Wines says...

Great Northwest Wines gave our Love & Squalor 2013 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley a wonderful review.

You can see it here: http://www.greatnorthwestwine.com/2016/09/08/love-squalor-2013-pinot-noir-willamette-valley-28/

"This vintage marks the 10th anniversary of Matt Berson’s introduction to winemaking, and his flagship wine from this rain-interrupted season illustrates a blend of nearly equal contributions from eight vineyards – led by Dundee Hills sites Winter’s Hill and Vista Hills. The choice of essentially all neutral French oak at his McMinnville winery allows for a Pinot Noir to reveal itself as a cherry bomb with secondary aromas of strawberry, plum juice and fresh fig with a pinch of herbs and shaving of dark chocolate. As a drink, it’s eminently approachable with Bing cherry and raspberry flavors that offer ripeness rather than sweetness. That feeds into a smooth and round structure capped by orange zest, Earl Grey tea and cocoa."


Rating: Excellent
Production: 1,100 cases
Alcohol: 12.9% 

By Great Northwest Wine on September 8, 2016 

WINE ENTHUSIAST REVIEWS ARE IN!

Fine winemaking is on display here...

— Paul Gregutt Wine Enthusiast June 2016

love & squalor WV Riesling 2013 - 93 Points - Editor's Choice
This packs tremendous flavor into a low-alcohol wine with moderate residual sugar. Peach pit and juice, green apple and citrusy acids start it off. The flavors keep going through a long, complex finish, adding subtle notes of herb and cut grass.

love & squalor Antsy Pants Riesling 2011 - 92 Points
Ignore the silly name and focus on the important particulars—old vine (planted 1976), wild yeast, biodynamic farming. Absolutely bone-dry yet bursting with complex minerality, citrus rind, and penetrating acidity, it has phenolics that give length, breadth and detail.

love & squalor WV Pinot Noir 2012 - 91 Points - Editor's Choice
Fine winemaking is on display here, as the blend includes grapes from six far-flung vineyards. It’s artfully melded, with brambly berries, Bing cherries, cola, cocoa and red licorice notes. Seamless and buttressed with natural acids, it’s not at all reliant on barrel flavors, having seen just 6% once-filled oak, with the rest neutral.

love & squalor Antsy Pants Pinot Noir 2011 - 91 Points
The proprietary name indicates that this is the winemaker’s reserve cuvée, a three-barrel selection mixing equal proportions of grapes from the Eola Hills, Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge AVAs. It’s austere, tight and yet authoritative, showing compact wild berry fruit, Mediterranean herbs and a slight saltiness. It’s best to cellar it until 2020, or give it a good long decant.

Thanks Mr. Gregut 

 

source: http://www.winemag.com/buying-guide/love-squalor-2013-pinot-noir-willamette-valley

 

WINE & SPIRITS Article featurES Matt!

From Wine & Spirits Magazine August 2016

Riesling Resurgent
by David Schildknecht

pg 47. "...That Seestedt’s Sunnyside success isn’t some winemaking tour de force is demonstrated not only by his familiar claim to have done as little “making” as possible, but also by the equally vibrant and infectiously juicy 2014 Sunnyside Riesling crafted by Seestedt protégé and former restaurant manager Matt Berson under his Love & Squalor label. Berson, who also works adeptly with the fruit of Richard Cuddihy’s 1971 planting, ferments and raises multiple tiny lots according to di ering protocols, one possible explanation for the satisfying complexity of his results. Another intriguing piece of the Sunnyside puzzle—assuming you’re puzzled that riesling this good comes from a place of which few riesling-lovers have heard—is that the vines are trained with so-called Pendelbogen arches, a method that promotes sap distribution and efficient picking, as well as depresses must weights, which might nowadays be advantageous."

The article can be downloaded here

Getting Serious

My friends Dan and Chas, who host the popular video blog Wine Is Serious Business, invited me to come and taste through my current releases with them and have a conversation about winemaking in Oregon. It was lots of fun and turned out pretty well. Check it out here You can see their archive on YouTube and link to them on Facebook.