Wonderful review of 2015 Pinot Noir from Great Wines Northwest

Love & Squalor 2015 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
By Great Northwest Wine on January 6, 2018

Portland vintner Matt Berson recently entered his second decade of Love & Squalor, and he named his duo-pronged passion project of Pinot Noir and Riesling as a tribute to iconic author J.D. Salinger. His flagship wine is this Pinot Noir, a melange of eight clones and six vineyards, primarily Sunny Mountain, Temperance Hill, Cherry Grove and Medici that represents about a third of his entire production. His choice of an 18-month program in mature French oak shows up merely as an enticing dusting of cocoa powder that’s behind the purple fruit tones of plum and blueberry. Fine-grained tannins are focused on the midpalate of this otherwise juicy approach.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 1,100 cases

Alcohol: 13.8%

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 Review Says We Are "Outstanding"

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

You can see it here:


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  

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:

"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 again – 93 points!

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 


Portland Wine Examiner


Why Wine? An interview with Matt Berson of the Portland Wine Company

December 23, 2014 12:15 PM MST

Michele Francisco

Portland Wine Examiner

This is part of a series introducing you to interesting people in the wine industry. For many, the journey into wine is not only intriguing but often quite an adventure. These talented individuals are what make the wine industry what it is today so follow this series to meet this group of passionate people who have dedicated their lives to wine.

Why Wine? An interview with Matt Berson of the Portland Wine Company and Love & Squalor Wines

Examiner: Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?

Matt Berson: I was definitely excited when I first tasted the Oregon Rieslings from Ransom and Brooks, and Patty Green’s Pinots. But I just wanted to drink them and meet the people who made them, not make my own. Then fate intervened and I was hanging out with those same winemakers and cleaning their barrels and washing tanks and I was bit with the bug and was in the perfect place to pursue my new passion.

A lot of winemakers have an “aha” wine. Interestingly, it is usually a style or varietal that they are no longer fond of. Mine was a right bank Bordeaux that some tech guys brought into one of the restaurants I worked at and they shared with me. I had never had a merlot like that before. It was delicious and intriguing. I wish I could say it was a Dagueneau or Nuits St. George, but in any case it did the trick.

What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?

I was a restaurant manager. I came up in the San Francisco food scene of the 90’s. My degree in Modern American Culture from UC Berkeley and my thesis on The History of Disco did little to prepare me for the vinous life. However, my food service experience has been crucial to my success.

How has being in the wine industry changed you?

I always wear grubby clothes and rarely comb my hair. Really it’s made me more connected to the world. At least to the cycles of nature, and to the experiential world. To go from the mud of a vineyard to a consumer drinking and talking about the wine - usually all in the course of one day - is a very full and connected thing.

What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?

My favorite part of making wine, and owning my own business, is the continual learning and growth. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. My favorite part of being a winemaker is the response I get when someone at a party asks me “ So, what do you do?”

Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?

There is no doubt that growing up with a wide variety of foods on our table, and a mom who loves to cook, and seeing wine on the table too, and travel, lots of travel, and foreign foods. And the VW camper bus breaking down in Bordeaux and then breaking down once again in Champagne. It may all be coincidence, but here I am.

Vinography Review


Coastal Diamonds: The Rieslings of Oregon

About every two years, I get an invite to attend the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley. The event continues to be one of the best run and highest quality wine events in the country, with a fantastic combination of excellent wine and equally fantastic food. More about Pinot Noir in a day or two. In addition to attending one of the best wine parties around, IPNC also gives me (and a number of other wine writers) the excuse to do something slightly less expected: taste a lot of Oregon Riesling. Each year following IPNC, the Oregon Riesling Alliance holds a tasting of a recent vintage.  Most people still have no idea that Oregon even grows Riesling, yet amidst the crowded hills of Pinot Noir, there lie an increasing number of Riesling vineyards. So many, in fact that continuing to describe these growers as experimental is as inaccurate as it is unfair.

Riesling has actually been planted in Oregon since the very first days of Oregon viticulture. Pioneering vintner Richard Sommer, whose 1960's Hillcrest Vineyards winery was one of the state's earliest forays into wine, included Riesling as part of his plantings. By 1980 Riesling actually accounted for 25% of the state's plantings. But then Pinot Noir came along and as often happens when a region discovers a gold mine, Riesling all but disappeared.

Today Oregon has close to 800 acres of Riesling, spread across the Umpqua Valley, the Rogue Valley, the Colombia River Valley, and of course, the Willamette Valley. From the perspective of broad climate measures, Oregon fits nicely in the known range for growing Riesling, which likes a cooler climate, known as Region 1 to climate scientists. Other winegrowing areas in Region 1 include Burgundy and Germany's Rhine region.

2011 Love & Squalor "Antsy Pants" Riesling $28
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of mandarin oranges, pink grapefruit, and a hint of candle wax. In the mouth, juicy mandarin zest, pink grapefruit flesh, and lemon pith are beautifully balanced and fresh, with bright, mouthwatering acidity. Very pretty. 54 cases produced.

2012 Love & Squalor Riesling, Willamette Valley $18
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine has a very distinctive nose of ripe pear and ripe papaya aromas. In the mouth, bright tropical fruits, including papaya, mix with pink grapefruit and delicate acidity that has a nice balance to it. Quite distinctive and interesting. Dry. 440 cases produced.