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The Maresh family has had a long and memorable presence in the Dundee Hills of Oregon. I spoke with Martha Maresh and she detailed the family history. Jim and Loie Maresh were Wisconsin natives who met as students at Marquette University. The two bought a 26-acre farm in the Dundee Hills in 1959. They expanded their holdings to 140 acres while Jim worked for Dunn & Bradstreet and served as a reserve officer in the Navy in Portland. Originally theirs was the only home on their hill and they enjoyed the life of farming cherries, nuts and prunes. In 1969, David Lett had the only vineyard in Yamhill County. At the time, Dick Erath suggested to the Maresh family that they had a superior site for growing grapes. In 1970, they followed his suggestion and planted three acres of vines. This was the first vineyard on Worden Hill Road and Oregon's fifth oldest vineyard.
Jim and Loie had five children. One daughter, Martha, married Fred Arterberry who was one of the first Oregon winemakers to have a degree from University of California Davis. Arterberry was well known in wine circles in Oregon and produced many award-winning wines. Martha and Jim had a son, Jim Arterberry Maresh. When the eldest Jim died, Martha remarried but kept the last name Maresh.
The Maresh estate now consists of 124 acres of several varieties including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. About half the grapes (600 cases) are vinified as Red Barn Pinot Noir. This wine has been made by several winemakers through the years (the Maresh’s traded grapes for wine) and sold only through the Red Barn tasting room. The remainder of the grapes Pinot Noir have been sold to Daedelus Cellars, et Fille, Scott Paul, and Sineann. Rex Hill produced a Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir for many years until the winery was sold a few years back.
Jim Arterberry Maresh is only twenty-seven years old (in 2011), but is already becoming touted as the “Best Young Oregon Winemaker” in an article at www.avalonwine.com. His father’s label, Arterberry Cellars, disappeared when Fred died. Jim began “messing around” making wine in 2001, and in 2007 he revived the label as Arterberry Maresh, releasing his inaugural wines from the 2005 vintage. He may qualify as the first to represent a third generation in Oregon's wine industry.
Jim Arterberry Maresh made his wines at Torri Mor initially, but now has his own winery in the Dundee hills on the Maresh property.
James draws from his grandfather's vines at Maresh Vineyard as well as many other highly regarded vineyards in the region such as Juliard, Winderlea and Weber. His 2006 Pinot Noirs are quite impressive and three of them are reviewed in the PinotFile. The aromatics and elegant style are especially notable. Subsequent vintages have been solid but not extraordinary. All wines are hand-crafted and spend 18 months in barrel. New oak is kept to a minimum.
The signature wine is from own-rooted old Pommard and Wädenswil vines at Maresh Vineyard.
Arterberry Maresh wines are sold through limited retail distribution within Oregon. Avalon Wine Co. is a source (http://avalonwine.com/Arterberry-Maresh-Cellars-2006-Wines.html). 503-434-7689. You can reach Jim Maresh through the website at www.arterberrymaresh.com.
2012 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $55. From third generation Dundee Hills winemaker Jim Maresh. Vinified in a small winery at the top of Maresh Vineyard. Non-irrigated vines. Unfined and unfiltered. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose never really arrives even after extensive swirling over 2 hours. Shy scents of underbrush and seasoned oak. Moderately rich black cherry and black raspberry flavors with plenty of oak underpinning. Still sporting young fine-grain tannins and the fruit tastes a tad under ripe. There is vibrant acidity and some finishing intensity. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was about the same. I would give this wine at least another year in bottle to emerge. Score: 89. Reviewed July 6, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.6% alc., $58. Non-irrigated vines. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Marked reduction upon opening which resolves by the following day from an opened bottle. Light and elegant presentation of red cherries, raspberries and cranberries with a dried herb note in the background. Hi-strung with delicate tannins finishing with a tart cherry theme. The fruit seems under ripe. This wine has received considerable favorable press, but honestly, I don’t get it. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $75. Unfined and unfiltered. · Reluctant nose initially offering some berry fruit, oak and a green pea note. Substantial classy core of berry and red plum fruit with a slight green edge. Silky in the mouth with harmonious acid and tannin interplay. Doesn’t excite upon opening but becomes more giving the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, offering more fruit aromatically and more intense pure fruit flavors. Like so many 2008 Pinot Noirs from Oregon, this wine needs time to come together and may eventually titillate. Good. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Arterberry Maresh Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $34.95. · Moderately light reddish-in color. The nose is all hay and grass with restrained red fruits. A light and elegant wine featuring demure cranberry and strawberry fruit with a grapefruit peel finish. Rather dilute, but plenty of acidity for refreshing drinking. Close to a rosé and I would drink this wine chilled like a rosé. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $74.95. · A little more color than the appellation bottling. Very heady and penetrating aromas of dark red cherries. Sumptuous red berry and cherry fruits with a sidecar of herbs and a slight green note. Plush, yet elegant with adequate tannins and acidity to support the fruit. Still somewhat reserved and will benefit from another year in bottle. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Arterberry Maresh Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 125 cases, $35. This wine is made from declassified old vine fruit from non irrigated vines in the Maresh Vineyard. · Displaying a lighter crimson color than the other two Arterberry wines, the nose is classic Chambolle with hitoned red cherry, baking spice and oak. Redder fruits including strawberry are nicely weighted and balanced with bright acidity and subtle oak tannins. The flavors and aromas dissipate with time and air. A comforting Pinot that the Pinot Geek likes to drink now. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 75 cases, $75. From non irrigated old vines. · Intense deep, dark reddish-purple color. Alluring and complex aromatics brimming with ripe grapes, plums, fresh bread and herbs. Darker Pinot fruits carry the theme on the palate with overtones of savory herbs, forest floor and oak. A commendable effort that has a subtle richness and refined mouthfeel. This wine has impressive breeding and it shows it. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Arterberry Maresh White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 50 cases, $75. · Aged in neutral oak but still showing some aromas of new sawn oak along with bright cherries and berries. Discreetly concentrated black cherry and blackberry flavors envelope the tongue with a silky creaminess. Commendable balance of perfectly ripe fruit, lively acidity and fine-grained tannins. I was wanting for a little more lingering finish. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »