Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

Oregon / Willamette Valley, United States 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$39.00
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Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

While I imagine most of you have already jumped to checkout after seeing the producer and price, here’s the need-to-know for everyone else: We believe Oregon produces the best-value Pinot Noirs in the world and, in the exemplary 2021 vintage, Arterberry Maresh may have crafted its finest $40-and-under bottling. But just how grand of a year was it? We were told that “It was the most difficult blend to put together because the worst barrel from ’21 would’ve been the best barrel of the past six vintages.” Excited yet?

There’s much more. Arterberry Maresh was born from one of the founding families of Willamette Valley wine, and their “Maresh Vineyard” is a critical piece of Oregon wine history. In fact, when Robert Parker tasted their 1985 release, he exclaimed “Only a handful of Pinot Noirs in my experience have delivered greater beauty or more striking singularity.” Today, third-generation wunderkind Jim Maresh has risen the bar to seemingly insurmountable heights; something you’ll discover in his brilliant 2021 Dundee Hills Pinot. The pure aromatic nuance and soft-as-velvet texture defy logic at $36. Buy a case! 

First, a brief recap of our visit in 2022, when we endured a three-day Willamette gauntlet that saw us visiting 15+ wineries and tasting nearly 200 wines. Once pulling up to Maresh’s old red barn, we met one of the valley’s most relaxed, down-to-earth winemakers: Jimmy Maresh Jr., grandson of the late great Jim Maresh. No lineup was awaiting us, no elaborate spread or starched collars either. It was just Jim, packing up club orders in sweatpants, and he instantly treated us like we’d been lifelong neighbors. Everything felt impromptu/arbitrary during our tasting, as he kept disappearing into the cellar to find the next bottle, and yet, every Pinot was so focused, perfumed, pure—mind-blowing. He remained exceedingly modest all the while, never going beyond comments like “pretty good results” or “I’m proud of this bottling.” That’s because his wines do all the talking.

It’s the ultimate win-win when we can offer a wine that is both an exceptional value and made by a reference-point producer—a “teachable moment,” if you will. In the late 1950s, Jim and Loie Maresh bought a farm in the Dundee Hills and began growing assorted fruits and other crops. Shortly after David Lett of Eyrie planted what were said to be the first Pinot Noir vines in the Willamette Valley, Jim and Loie planted their first grapes, in 1970. That original site, called the Maresh vineyard (pronounced “Marsh”), is the fifth-oldest vineyard in the state and a key fruit source for today’s wine—a “Grand Cru” if Oregon had such things!

Jim and Loie’s daughter, Martha Maresh, married Willamette Valley winemaker Fred Arterberry, whose eponymous label was well-known and regarded, thanks in no small part to prime Pinot fruit from the Maresh Vineyard. Arterberry Winery closed after Fred’s untimely death in 1990, and for many years the fruit from the Maresh site was used in acclaimed vineyard-designated bottlings from other producers. But when Fred and Martha’s son, Jim Maresh Jr., established his label in 2005, he brought it back into the family fold.

Given how “young” Oregon’s wine industry is, it’s rare to hear of a “third-generation” winegrower in the region, and in fact, “Jimmy” may be the only one. He sources fruit from his grandfather’s organic, dry-farmed vines and an assortment of other top Dundee Hills sites. Soils here are mostly “Jory,” a silty clay/loam derived from igneous (i.e. volcanic) rock. In 2021, his Dundee Hills Pinot was a blend of the Maresh and Weber vineyards, and it aged about 18 months in 15% new French oak. Arterberry Maresh’s style emphasizes moderate alcohol, soft tension, and lifted aromatics—and 2021 may be the finest interpretation of that. Its perfumes are so exquisite, its palate so supple and gorgeously stitched together. I’m sure it’d age nicely for several years but there’s absolutely no reason to wait. Pull the cork, serve at 60 degrees, and enjoy!

Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

United States


Columbia Valley

Like many Washington wines, the “Columbia Valley” indication only tells part of the story: Columbia Valley covers a huge swath of Central
Washington, within which are a wide array of smaller AVAs (appellations).


Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become an elite winegrowing zone in record time. Pioneering vintner David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyard, planted the first Pinot Noir in the region in 1965, soon to be followed by a cadre of forward-thinking growers who (correctly) saw their wines as America’s answer to French
Burgundies. Today, the Willamette
Valley is indeed compared favorably to Burgundy, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. And while Pinot Noir accounts for 64% of Oregon’s vineyard plantings, there are cool-climate whites that must not be missed.


Santa Barbara

Among the unique features of Santa Barbara County appellations like Ballard Canyon (a sub-zone of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA), is that it has a cool, Pacific-influenced climate juxtaposed with the intense luminosity of a southerly
latitude (the 34th parallel). Ballard Canyon has a more north-south orientation compared to most Santa Barbara AVAs, with soils of sandy
clay/loam and limestone.


Paso Robles

Situated at an elevation of 1,600 feet, it is rooted in soils of sandy loam and falls within the Highlands District of the Paso Robles AVA.

New York

North Fork

Wine growers and producers on Long Island’s North Fork have traditionally compared their terroir to that of Bordeaux and have focused on French varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

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