AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Maysara Estate Photos

Maysara Estate Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, McMinnville AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: July 10, 2014 by Rob Boss
Published: December 22, 2014

(Photos by Jai Soots)

Maysara Winery was founded by Mo and Flora Momtazi when they purchased an abandoned farm in 1997. Their website tells the story in detail, but the short of it is the site was selected because the land had been free from chemicals for years. Since then, the Momtazis have practiced the most stringent organic farming possible, eventually earning Demeter Biodynamic Certification. The results are some of the most respected and distinct fruit in the Willamette Valley, as well as highly distinguished wine of their own.

Winemaker Tahmeine Momtazi was pouring 2012 Jamsheed at the 7 Wonders of Pinot Noir event in the winery, and had mentioned that it was not released and still too young, so I expected to see 2011 open in the tasting room. That was not the case: they were pouring 2009 and 2010. She really waits until they're ready! This makes all the more sense on first taste. Even after bottle aging, Maysara shows a very chewy, muscular structure. In youth, it's rather rugged. So wait. You'll be glad you did.

Jamsheed is the entry level wine (10,000 cases produced), a cuvée of all vineyards. My notes on the 2009 said simply, "all black fruit," and when I flipped back to see what I wrote about the 2012 in the other room, it said, "all black fruit." The difference was mostly in the structure. The 2009 had softened considerably, but it also showed more focus, more definition of the fruit. A second tasting revealed blackberries and boysenberries, which I found interesting, considering how screaming RED most 2009s have been. But McMinnville in general, and Maysara in particular, are darker flavored than most of the Willamette Valley (Yamhill-Carlton offers black and blue fruit flavors, too).

Next up was the 2009 Asha. This one showed big blackberry flavors, followed by black cherry and very, very ripe raspberry. The best part for me was how many of those flavors unfolded in the finish, making this a wine to savor slowly.

Finally, Cyrus, from one of my favorite vintages, 2010. There was a small, underlying bramble and forest notes that's typical of the vintage, followed by intense, cooked black fruits in the nose. (The second time I smelled it didn't reveal the brambles, making me think I'd wished it in there!) My notes are similar to Asha—blackberry, black cherry, ripe raspberry—but this time it was cooked fruit.

Meanwhile, the other two Momtazi sisters, Naseem and Hannah, tag teamed between the tasting room and the winery, working the room at the 7 Wonders event next door. While some might find this hectic, the ladies seemed to be in their element, delighting the audiences in both places. They never missed a beat, never left the room unattended and easily answered questions from the patrons with perfect grace. They were fun.

Testament to the thoughtfulness of these wines was the need to revisit them all (ahem). I was struck by the similarities of their flavor profiles of particular fruits, but also the differences of fruit presentations—going between fresh and cooked fruit flavors. These are much bolder flavors than most Oregon Pinot Noirs. The tannins will make them terrific with meats and cheeses, and richer dishes, if perhaps too much for a cocktail wine—no quaffers, these. But like the land and winery they come from, they're quite beautiful. Maysara may be a little further out, but it's worth the extra drive.

Address & Contact Information: 15765 SW Muddy Valley Rd. McMinnville, Oregon 97128. Telephone: 503-843-1234, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Jun-Oct: Mon-Sat 11:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-5:00; Nov-May: Mon-Sat 11:00-4:00.

Overall Rating:  

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