Wine Spectator on Et Fille
A home winemaker goes pro - by Harvey Steiman
excerpted from Wine Spectator, December 31, 2007 Issue
Howard Mozeico had been making his own wine since 1984, winning amateur competitions and dazzling his friends with what he could do with Pinot Noir. He started out growing grapes in his tiny backyard in Wilsonville, Ore., at the eastern edge of Willamette Valley, and has helped out at some of Oregon's better wineries, including Sineann and Penner-Ash.
After two decades of home winemaking, though, Mozeico says he "got tired of winemakers telling me I ought to go commercial." So he rented space in a shared winemaking facility, identified vineyards whose grapes he wanted to buy, and made enough wine to sell. His first vintage, 2003, included a Seven Springs Vineyard bottling that scored 90 points on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale. Its silky texture and pretty red fruit flavors reflected a sure hand in the winery.
The current releases, from 2005, include two of the better wines of the vintage. An expressive wine with great presence, Et Fille Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Elton Vineyard 2005 (93, $36) has blackberry, cherry and delicately spicy flavors and a finish that won't quit. Supple and velvety in texture, Et Fille Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Maresh Vineyard 2005 (93, $38) bursts with blueberry fruit. It has tremendous presence and style, while remaining refined.
Mozeico became familiar with Maresh when he helped out at Rex Hill, for which Maresh was one of the key vineyards and Lynn Penner-Ash was winemaker from 1994 to 1999. "Lynn has been a mentor, helping me technically," he says. "I started buying grapes from good vineyards through her when I helped out at Rex Hill."
The winery name comes from the participation of daughter Jessica, the winery's marketing director. "We thought if we called it Mozeico et Fille we would be on the phone spelling the name for people all the time," he says. "So we shortened it."
Until the winery can show a profit, Mozeico has kept his other business. He engineered and is half-owner of an electronic device called The Lunchbox, used in cinema animation around the world.
An animator he met through that business designed Et Fille's pink label. Michael Dudok de Wit, whose animated short, "Father and Daughter," won an Academy Award in 2001, drew an adult's hand holding a child's. "My fondest memory of her was looking down at our hands when I took her to preschool," Mozeico says. "Now it's on the label." - H.S.