Goodfellow Family Cellars/Matello Wines, Willamette Valley
California Sales Only
Since his first vintage in 2002, Goodfellow has offered consistently fine wines sourced from a variety of vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Inevitably, there have been better and worse wines, but the overall standard — the essential competence — has been impressively high.
–Matt Kramer in The Oregonian, December 28, 2010
Marcus Goodfellow grew up on a Douglas Fir tree farm in Oregon. He got the wine bug in college while working in restaurants, first in Los Angeles and later in Portland. His wine education began in 2002 when he worked the harvest at Evesham Wood and made his first wines in the old Westrey Wine Company building, next door to Eyrie’s old building, in McMinneville’s granary district. He subsequently made three more vintages there, and he credits Westrey founders Amy Wesselman and David Autrey with encouraging and enabling him to begin his own production (then labeled exclusively as Matello Wines).
He also credits Cristom’s Steve Doerner with inspiring him, above all with his openness and honesty. His relationship with Doerner cemented his decision to work with stems, or whole cluster fermentations, and Doerner helped guide him down the path of trusting Mother Nature to handle fermentations just fine with a minimum of interference.
These days, he likes to do his Pinot Noir fermentations with 30, 50, or 100% whole cluster, depending on the vineyard source and the vintage conditions (grapes from deep, rich volcanic soils, for example, respond well to a higher percentage of whole cluster, while hotter vintages typically take less whole cluster). He lets them go through long, cool extractions and doesn’t add yeast. There’s no temperature control, no use of enzymes, no pump overs, no cold soaks, no oak chips, minimal sulfur, and no fining. The end results are Pinot Noirs with striking aromatics and dense, savory flavors. They ask for a couple of years in bottle. They demand a proper meal.
His whites are a varied bunch but all are intense, transparent wines–and quite rich without being heavy or clumsy. They display excellent acidities and minerality (he prefers sedimentary soils for his white grapes because the top soil tends to be merely a shallow layer above the bedrock).
Marcus works only with farmers he likes and trusts, and who tend their vineyards personally rather than relying on vineyard management companies. For him, wine is a deeply personal matter. He’s a stickler about dry-farmed vineyards. He prefers windy cool sites with good airflow and drainage. He likes ground watched over by a faithful grower which in turn translates into wine with distinct personality.
In 2014 Marcus had his first child. Maybe it was this that motivated him to launch a new label, Goodfellow Family Cellars, a more serious and somber label that he originally dedicated to his production of Oregon’s traditional varieties, primarily from single sites. These days the brand is transitioning to the Goodfellow label. Marcus is shifting things in his cellar too by raising his wines more and more in large, mostly neutral 500-liter and 820-liter barrels in place of the standard 225/228-liter Burgundian barrels. This kind of aging is another step toward emphasizing purity of fruit and transparency of site.
He works with vines from about 25 acres, and makes an average of 4,000 cases annually.
|Matello Wines Pinot Gris||Pinot Gris||From Bishop Creek and Whistling Ridge Vineyards. Vines grow at highest elevation, sharing thin soils (12-14 inches of topsoil), exposure to the most wind especially at night, exposure to somewhat less direct sunlight, and both sites are harvested early in the morning. The result is a Pinot Gris with excellent acidity and freshness. Several yeast strains are used during fermentation for complexity, and the wine is aged on its lees for seven months in older barrel and tank. Production averages 350 cases annually.
|Goodfellow Cellars Whistling Ridge Blanc||Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Gewurztraminer||From the top of the ridge. All harvested at once and co-fermented in neutral oak barrels. This retains lovely acidity and transparent minerality, and is surprisingly age-worthy. Production averages 80 cases annually.
|Goodfellow Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ||Pinot Noir||A blend from the various sites that Marcus works with. Fermentation is spontaneous with roughly 40% whole clusters. Ages entirely in French oak (almost all older) for some 17 months before bottling without fining or filtration. Production varies, centering around 750 cases.|
|Goodfellow Cellars Clover Pinot Gris||Pinot Gris||The top Pinot Gris from Marcus, made in the style of white Burgundy. This comes from Whistling Ridge and Bishop Creek, and is raised in neutral oak barrels and acacia puncheons (500L) and foudres (860L) for roughly 14 months, the year depending. Pressed whole cluster, spontaneous fermentation. ML typically is completed entirely, the vintage depending. 155 cases annually.|
|Goodfellow Cellars Whistling Ridge Chardonnay, Richard's Cuvée||Chardonnay||Richard Alvord and his wife Patricia own and farm this 15-acre hilltop vineyard in Ribbon Ridge AVA, the smallest of Oregon's AVAs. Alvord, a WWII pilot, originally planted this site in 1990 and named it for the breeze that whistles through the vineyard every afternoon. The Chardonnay parcel has four clones--76, 96, Espiguette and 108--and covers 1 acre of shallow marine sediments (maybe 10 inches of top soil) above the Beaux Frères vineyard. Regardless of the varietal, this site always gives intense fruit--the wind, shallow soil, and dry farming ensure that. 250 cases annually.
|Goodfellow Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||From the barrels that didn’t make the cut for the single-vineyard bottlings of Whistling Ridge, Durant, and Bishop Creek. This cuvée has a high portion of whole cluster fermentation, all spontaneous, and the wine has more structure and depth of fruit than the Matello WV bottling. Average age of vines is 30 years; aging is done mostly in older barrels. Production averages 750 cases.
|Goodfellow Cellars Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Marcus first made this wine in 2014, when he became the only buyer for the Pinot Noir coming off of the Whistling Ridge Vineyard. This is a blend of those barrels (mostly 500-liters) that don't make the cut for the single-vineyard bottling.|
|Goodfellow Cellars Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Isolated Bishop Creek vineyard occupies a hillside of marine sediments (Willakenzie soils) in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Marcus works with 25-year-old Wadensville PN vines planted on their own rootstocks. The percentage of new oak varies from none to upwards of 40%. The ferments are spontaneous and at least half are with whole cluster. The wine is typically bottled without fining or filtration. 75 cases annually.|
|Goodfellow Cellars Durant Vineyard Pinot Noir ||Pinot Noir||Durant is one of the pioneer vineyards, planted with Pommard stock in 1973 and a second section with clone 114 in 1993. Elevation midpoint is 400 feet in the Dundee Hills AVA, a relatively warm AVA where the soils are volcanic (Jory) and iron-rich, imparting a silkiness to the wine. Fermentation is spontaneous and done with some 50% whole clusters; aging takes place in French barrels, roughly 15% new, and the wine is typically bottled without fining or filtration. 175 cases annually.
|Goodfellow Cellars Whistling Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||There are more than ten clones in the 8.5 acres of Pinot Noir planted in shallow marine sedimentary soils on this ridge. Marcus says the deep-rooted vines here are like Bedouin people, coming through the hottest and driest years without a problem (and handling the wet years with aplomb--the rain just runs downhill). The profile of this Pinot is decidedly Burgundian with its structure and lift, and rewards (even demands) aging. Fermentation is spontaneous with varying amounts of whole clusters; aging takes place in French barrels, roughly a quarter new; and wine is typically bottled without fining or filtration. 250 cases annually.