AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Maresh Red Barn / Red Hills Vineyard Photos

Maresh Red Barn / Red Hills Vineyard Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: September 4, 2014 by Rob Boss
Published: January 9, 2015

(Photos by Jai Soots)

In the heart of the Dundee Hills sits one of the more charming tasting rooms a wine tourist might run across, in the form of the Maresh Red Barn. Driving up to the building is certainly like visiting a quintessential "roadside attraction" (read "tourist trap") but we were greeted warmly by Ayla, Maresh's tasting room maven. She quickly tossed out that the building was a hundred years old and that the floor is recycled: it's the wood gym floor from Tigard High School. Then she pointed out where a former student (from the Fifties) had autographed a plank. Somehow this dovetailed into the fact that Jim Maresh is a third generation winemaker. Now it was time to taste some wine.

First poured was the 2012 Arterberry-Maresh Chardonnay. With a mouthwatering nose of pear and butter, one would expect a butter bomb of a wine. The green apple flavors dispelled that, and the slightly high acidity assured food friendliness, but it would still be a great cocktail wine before dinner with all those easy to drink apples.

On to Pinot Noir, beginning with the 2011 Powell Hill Winery. All the wine here is made in the same place, at the top of Powell Hill, but this one is made by Jim's mother Martha, under her own label. The nose was spicy, full of crushed fruit. Bright, young cherry flavors unfolded, layer by layer into a long finish. It's a very pretty wine, with a lovely, light garnet color. "Needs air," Ayla explained. "It's better on the second day. No—really." Or perhaps decanting—although I wasn't convinced, since this had been opened only an hour before. In any case, I bought a bottle of it.

Next, she poured the 2010 Arterberry-Maresh Gehrts Vineyard. This one offered a briary nose, again with lots of crushed fruit. It was light and delicate, with ripe cherry and raspberry flavors, and a nice, long finish; another beauty from that cool, challenging year.

The 2012s were an interesting comparison, both to the cooler years of 2010 and 2011, and between themselves. First, the Arterberry-Maresh Dundee Hills brought, big, intense fruit in the nose, with a palate that was equally bold, ripe and round. It was an easy drinking wine, full of cherries, raspberries and cherry pie spice. The Maresh Vineyard was darker and riper—very, very ripe fruit flavors—but otherwise the notes read the same: cherries, raspberries and cherry pie. They're both crowd pleasers that should reel in some new fans for the Willamette Valley wares.

As I packed my notebook and Jai put away her camera, Ayla offered to take our picture on the back porch. "Oh, c'mon! You need a picture to remember us by!" (We eventually consented.) Indeed, the Red Barn is not to be missed, or forgotten. The wines are excellent, reasonably priced, and offer tremendous value to the wine lover. It's a delightful tasting room and a tremendous representative of the wines of Oregon's Dundee Hills. What could be better? Except maybe taking some home with you…

Address & Contact Information: 9305 NE Worden Hill Rd. Dundee, Oregon 97115. Telephone: 503-537-1098, website: Tasting Hours: Mar 1-Thanksgiving: Fri-Sun 11:00-5:00.

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