Jim Maresh Does It Again
by Peter J Troilo
In recent years, I’ve written countless words regarding the success Jim Maresh is having in Oregon. Some have discovered the very orphic nature of Jim’s wines prompting such responses as the following:
“Peter, Just a quick note to thank you for introducing the Arterberry Maresh wines to me. I now share the same passion as you and think I’ve found a new vineyard to begin a vertical collection of.”
“The Arterberry Maresh Chardonnay you sent over is dangerously good. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better chardonnay made in the country.”
“This is, by far, the best recommendation you have made to me. You absolutely nailed this one. I wish I had heeded the warning about quantities.”
It appears Jim has done it again in 2011. I’m not sure a winemaker of such a young age has ever garnered so much attention in such a young career. David Schildknecht of The Wine Advocate waxes poetic about the 2011 Juliard Vineyard Pinot Noir (94 points) and 2011 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir (95 points). It’s a bit long so I’ve paraphrased it below. The point is, when Schildknecht spends this much time on one producer, it’s best to pay attention and act fast. Jim’s wines will change your perspective on balance, grace and elegance in domestic pinot noir and chardonnay.
2011 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir - $70.00 per bottle
The Arterberry Maresh 2011 Pinot Noir Maresh Vineyard pours forth an ethereally high-toned combination of red berry distillates, fresh berry scents, and nut extracts such as I associate with Pinots from this site and some of its Worden Hill Road neighbors…Ginseng tea and bittersweetly perfumed iris waft across generously juicy cherry and red currant, while mineral salts, meat broth, mushroom stock and crustacean shell reduction all open the doors to umami and liberate the salivary glands in an incandescent and ravishingly rejuvenating finish.
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2011 Arterberry Maresh Juliard Vineyard Pinot Noir - $70.00 per bottle
Intense and seductively bittersweet floral perfume as well as an unusually firm structure and invigorating sense of grip to Maresh’s 2011 Pinot Noir Juliard Vineyard all point toward his inclusion – for the first time in an Arterberry Maresh wine – of stems…The combination of palpable density with levity, fluidity, and energy is quite remarkable. Juicy fresh cherry and red currant inflected by cinnamon and their piquant pits and crunchy seeds are mingled with salted veal stock and meat juices that serve for saliva-inducement, leading to a subtly chewy and invigoratingly, crunchily incisive finish.
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I’ve highlighted the text above to illustrate how important that statement is. It demonstrates how innovative and brilliant Jim’s winemaking skills are. The addition of stems is a normal process in the winemaking. However, Jim takes it a step further. The grapes are de-stemmed before crush. He then sorts the stems selecting only ones that have achieved lignification (the process by which wood is formed from the deposit of lignin in cell walls of plant) before adding them back to the fermentation.
If you can’t decide which of the above pinot noirs to add to your collection, here’s a quote from Jim on the quality of Juliard Vineyard, “You know what? Juliard might be the best vineyard in the whole ----ing Dundee Hills, and I believe in its full potential.” Yes, Jim is a bit arrogant. But I’ll allow it for now. Let’s just hope his career keeps trending up because it’s really exciting to watch.
It’s not uncommon to take six of each wine. If you mix a case or take full cases I’ll take 10% off. Just do so fast, he doesn’t make a lot of wine.