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Matello Fool's Journey Syrah 2012


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True, there’s a little Syrah grown in the Willamette Valley. I won’t write how much because heck, I don’t know and I’m not sure anyone does (it’s that small). The vineyard source in question is Deux Vert (Two Greens), established in 1994; within its rows are a 1.5 acre block of Syrah call “Upper Syrah Block” along with a small block of Viognier. Deux Vert lies in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, known as a warmer region for growing Pinot noir, but hardly warm enough to ripen Syrah. But it does ripen, especially (well) in warm vintages like 2012. Picked at the end of October and co-fermented with Deux Vert Viognier (a 90/10 blend), Fool’s Journey is its own animal, sharing characteristics more akin to Cornas or Crozes Hermitage in the Northern Rhone than to anywhere in Washington or Oregon. Peppered bacon, crushed berry, a hint of red plum and ripe peach, this has complexity to spare. - Marcus From winemaker Marcus Goodfellow: “Fool's Journey is taken from the Tarot deck, specifically the Major Arcana, the 22 cards we associate with fortune telling. The first card in the Major Arcana is the Fool and it has no number. It often is also the last card as well, and the progression from Zero card to 22 is known as "The Fool's Journey".   The Fool is often pictured as a guileless youth trusting in, and requiring fate to keep him from harm and moving through all of the stages of life before achieving wisdom and returning to a state of simplicity as an old man. Hence the card being both first and last. There is a free and pure aspect to producing Willamette Valley Syrah that I identify with the nature of the Fool. There is none of the competition or comparisons that Pinot Noir endures here. There are no 97 point Syrahs made here driving methodologies (and prices) towards the absurd. It's an unwritten book. So I thought I would produce it as if I were at the beginning of winemaking again. No commercial yeast, no cold soaking, no de-stemming, no fancy pants tannin additions, no new oak barrels. Just the vineyard. Just the fruit. Just the hands (and feet) in the cellar.     If Quentin Tarantino could go back and make a movie like Reservoir Dogs again, don't you think he would?   The name also refers to making a wine from a grape that is so borderline in this climate. Few thought Mike Green was anything other than a fool when he planted these vines here in 1994. It was common knowledge that neither Syrah or Viognier would be able to ripen in the Willamette Valley. Tasting the wines over the seven vintages I have been making Syrah from his vineyard, I am happy to call the wine Fool's Journey as a reminder that it's sometimes better to believe than to know. Mike personifies my belief that the best wines are grown and made with a high level of attention and a minimal level of process.  Bloom happened later than normal in 2012 but we had a beautiful summer with lots of warm, dry days and cool nights: pretty optimal for Syrah. We picked October 27th, very late in comparison to the Pinot Noir.   Fool’s is 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier (co-fermented), no de-stemming, no yeast inoculation, no cold soaks. Aged in all neutral wood, moved to barrel when the wine reached complete dryness on 11/21/12 and racked before bottling on 11/24/14. The alcohol is 12.8% and for nerds, the pH is 3.65."  

Previous vintage notes: The 2010 Fool's Journey has slowly evolved into a beautifully feminine wine (yes, I am talking about Syrah!). Floral up front-violets and elder flowers, the underlying layers slowly well up, mulberry, marion berry, and blueberry dominate. Hints of basil, white pepper, and earth lurk faintly in the background awaiting their turn, but for now this is supple and pretty from front to back. 100 cases made. - Marcus G.

90% Syrah and 10% Viognier from the Deux Vert Vineyard, fermented together. Viognier adds layers of white violet perfume to the Syrah's black cherry and black currant flavors. The dusty red Jory soil of the vineyard teases through with a dark note of smoky bacon. The intensity of the Viognier's white flower contribution adds an exotic quality to a wine that has Marcus's distinct style.

2009 Vintage

Only 80 cases made. Matello owner and winemaker Marcus Goodfellow was affectionately called a "little fool" by friends when he decided to start making wine. He celebrates his nickname with this Fools Journey Syrah/Viognier blend.

Marcus adds more than a bit of Viognier (17%) to this Northern Rhone style wine. It was a warm summer and the wine reflects it - almost black color, intense nose, flavors, and finish, with Viognier's trademark violets and jasmine scent - and a hint of anise as well. Flavors are of big jammy blueberry and huckleberry fruit with a touch more perfume. A smoky, meaty bacon fat finish is tinged with dark roasted ground coffee and spice.

The grapes come from the Deux Vert Vineyard from vines the owners call "oldest plantings of viognier and syrah in the county, if not the state." Marcus use the vintage and the old vine fruit to great effect in this wower of a big red.

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