This past week I had the opportunity to taste the elegant and alluring wines of Marcus Goodfellow of Goodfellow Family Cellars, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, OR. I always enjoy meeting winemakers while learning about their wines because I can usually see a reflection of their personality in the glass.
Marcus is a real down to earth guy: soft spoken and passionate, with a clearly executed vision and no pretense. His wines are full of life and mirror this ethic.
Marcus was born and raised just outside Silverton, Oregon on an 80 acre farm where he learned the importance of hard work and symbiosis between the land and the well-being of its people. He then went on to work in fine dining in Portland at the Heathman Restaurant to solidify the food and wine connection. He began making small batches of Pinot in 2002, and today runs Goodfellow family Cellars with his wife, Gaironn Poole, who handles hospitality and sales.
Marcus works with fruit grown organically and without irrigation from a few select parcels: Whistling Ridge Vineyard, named for the daily cooling wind, owned and farmed by Richard (who just turned 90!) and Patricia Alvord in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, and the Durant Vineyard in Dundee Hills. Durant was planted back in 1973, and is still run by the family today. The soils here are volcanic in origin and give bright red fruit aromas with the perfect pitch of spice and earth.
Marcus and Gaironn have a lovely little tasting room in McMinnville, where you can sample their wines if up in Willamette, and in the meantime please come by and pick up these gems!
2013 Goodfellow Family Cellars, Pinot Gris Reserve, ‘Clover’, Willamette Valley, OR, $15.99
Marcus Goodfellow puts his heart and soul into this wine. I hate to see Pinot Gris made as an afterthought, so I am thrilled to see this this meticulous effort with such attention to detail! At only 175 cases, Marcus is able to showcase all the pretty attributes of Pinot Gris: fresh Spring flowers, delicate white peach, a touch of chervil, and a round mouth-coating texture which lead to a lip-smacking streak of bright citrus on the finish. Delicious with grilled swordfish and spring vegetables and a steal for the price!
2013 Goodfellow Family Cellars, Chardonnay, ‘Richard’s Cuvee’, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, OR, $31.99
I have fallen hard for this Chardonnay: creamy hazelnut with honeyed mineral notes, a touch of fresh jasmine and beautiful texture on the palate. This wine just keeps on giving! Soft and nutty yellow apple on the long finish. This is perfect with Japanese style stewed pork belly in a sweet and savory broth with mashed potatoes and baby Bok Choi.
2013 Goodfellow Family Cellars, Pinot Noir, Durant Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, OR, $39.99
Such an elegant wine! Delicate Pastis and lavender accentuate a beam of white cherry and sweet pomegranate. Pretty rose and freshly turned earth with a bit of briar accent the bright beam of fruit on the mid-palate. Deftly balanced between texture and lightness, and with hedonistic aromas, this is the quintessential Willamette Pinot! Perfect for elegant, wild-foraged dishes: think quail with creamy polenta and Chanterelles.