Since I haven’t won the lottery yet (I keep forgetting to buy a ticket) and was too obstinate to follow my grandparents advice to go to medical school, all grapes at Matello are sourced from small family owned and farmed vineyards in Oregon’s beautiful north Willamette Valley. I was raised here and feel proud to be able to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. It is a fickle grape that only grows and produces the extraordinary wines it’s capable of in places with the perfect geography, soil, and climate. Oregon’s warm dry summers and cool prolonged fall are ideal for ripening this unique and beautiful grape. It takes a remarkable confluence of great vineyard site, great farming, and great weather, along with care, respect, and attention to detail in the winery to produce the world class Pinot Noirs that Oregon does. Last, I hate the idea of wine being nothing but a commodity. All of our farmers are people I admire, who are willing to farm the right way even if it is harder, costs more, and is rewarded with precious little credit for the work.
My one consistent demand is that the vines not be irrigated. I believe in terroir. That there is a voice to each special place that Pinot Noir is grown and that irrigation is not a part of that voice. I also happen to believe that scallops plumped up with water to weigh more don’t taste as good as scallops that are fresh from their natural environment. Irrigating just seems like an easy way to minimize risk and not have to search for alternative solutions-and at some point there is a temptation to plump things up. Great Pinot Noir is never made by playing it safe. It comes from meticulous farming, working hard at a craft, and conscientious work in the cellar.