AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Matello Photos

Matello Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, McMinnville, Oregon

Reviewed: July 10, 2014 by Rob Boss
Published: December 5, 2014

(Photos by Jai Soots)

Marcus Goodfellow is a man who rarely uses ten words when fifty will do, and it’s usually interesting. Standing in the tasting room of Matello Wines, we were enthralled as he explained the interesting background of the historic building that had been “airlifted from the Soviet Union in the early 70s, then reassembled brick by brick…” and then broke out laughing after reeling us in.

Hmmm… Interesting, and sometimes apocryphal.

The real story was still pretty good: cinder block building, first a grain warehouse, then a bakery. Now with a new, cool looking wood façade, it’s the home to more than one great wine maker. Inside is a simple, to the point tasting room with plenty of counter space for a rush of customers. Matello is located at one corner of McMinnville’s famous “Wine Ghetto,” across from Domnio IV, down the street from Eyrie and a few blocks from Westrey, where Matello started.

Some objectivity goes out the window here, having known Mr. Goodfellow for a dozen years and tasted his first vintage in sommelier class. But tasting notes tell the tale: the wine is either there or it’s not. It’s definitely there, starting with Matello’s bright and refreshing 2013 Rose. Production was 100% sagnier (juice is siphoned out of the fermenter after short term skin contact) and barrel fermented. The wine has a beautiful, light salmon color; light, tart strawberry and raspberry flavors.

Next we went into whites, starting with 2013 Pinot Gris. There was a good bit of toast and a particular “rainy sidewalk” note that I always like, followed by a stony flavor, along with lemons and limes. It was beautifully balanced with a long, lemony finish. There was even more minerality in the 2012 Durant Chardonnay thanks to 29 year old vines. The nose had just a hint of butter. After that, peaches and nectarines, and again, a bit of stoniness. The 2012 Whistling Ridge Chardonnay was fruitier with its fresh peach nose. It showed pretty high acid that was in the course of taming; peaches, white peaches, and nectarine flavors.

On to Pinot Noir, starting with 2012 Hommage. It was a nose full of lovely crushed fruit—dark blackberries, blueberries and a fresh note of forest floor. On the palate were black plums, blackberries and raspberries that tasted fresh, right off the vine. But it was different from other vintages I’d tasted: less backbone, and when asked about it, he explained he wasn’t using Momtazi fruit. That was an eye opener, especially since we were on our way to a Momtazi Vineyards tasting that afternoon. (Intriguing, but another story.) More Yamhill-Carlton fruit than previous editions gave the wine a softer, darker character.

No less fascinating was a comparison of Durant Vineyard wines, having recently visited their property. 40% of the cuvee is from old vines from a 1993 planting. The 2011 offered cherries and raspberries on the nose, and I got a maple note on the second taste. The cherry and ripe raspberry flavors had an earthy element. It was lighter and spicier than the 2012, which was to be expected. The 2012 Durant had intense raspberries and cherries on the nose (reversal intended), with briars, pine and cedar. The flavors were very concentrated raspberries, cherries and ripe strawberries. It tasted a little stemmy but I thought that was OK—it’ll grow out of it and it’s pleasant, now.

Over a decade into it, the evolution continues with the rollout of Goodfellow Cellars, which will continue Marcus’s vineyard designate wines. The Matello label will continue as his platform for exploration. “After ten years on something, you’re not experimenting anymore,” he explained, and he knows how those wines are supposed to be. Set in stone is hardly accurate, though—and Matello has hardly peaked at this point. It’s more like a vine, and it’s deep.

Address & Contact Information: 925 NE 7th Avenue McMinnville, Oregon 97128. Telephone: 503-939-1308, email:, website: Tasting Hours: By appt..

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