It was a rainy day in September and we were headed to the Maysara Vineyard wine club event. As we passed by the impressive Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, and bypassed McMinnville, it seemed like a long way from the other wine growing areas closer to Portland. But once we turned up the country road leading to Maysara with beautiful rolling hillsides planted with vines and passed by a natural pond lined with cattails, we saw the huge winery and tasting room. We had arrived and looked forward to the free club tasting and Persian recipes from the owner's kitchen. We had heard about this family-run vineyard.
Maysara is the result of a vision held by Moe Momtazi. After leaving Tehran, Iran in 1982, the Momtazis arrived in the United States and Moe started his civil engineering practice. In 1997, Moe and Flora Momtazi purchased 532 acres of abandoned wheat farm just south of their home in McMinnville, Oregon. This is truly a family effort with the three Momtazis involved in the business along with their mother, Flora. Their enthusiasm and their warmth is evident when you visit their vineyard.
I saw the result of that dream this past weekend at the Tinoosh (to your health) Wine Club pick-up party. The business had recently been located to a new building and it is gorgeous. Inside the huge cavernous structure you'll find beautiful rock walls and floors, huge Douglas Fir tree pillars and innovative use of retired wine barrels (how about a wine barrel head parquet floor!).
The tasting room is equally beautiful with a long highly polished natural wood bar. You enter the building via a flower garden filled with blooming dahlias.
The family had thoughtfully placed portable heaters in the tasting area and the food was, as promised, delightful. The tasting began with a light sparkling wine and progressed through some amazing Pinot Noirs. My favorite was the Jamsheed Pinot Noir, priced very reasonably. This wine is a blend of grapes from all the vineyard blocks. The history of the name Jamsheed is related, "According to ancient Persian legend, King Jamsheed was able to observe his entire realm by peering into his full wine goblet." All their wines have been given interesting Persian names.
We sipped wine, enjoyed the light repast and toured the new areas of the building with Flora, a true wine enthusiast and fantastic ambassador for the business. The wine operation was fully active. We learned quite a bit about the workings of the winery. This particular weekend had to be busy as area wineries had rushed to harvest grapes in anticipation of a very wet storm moving in.
I was pleased to read that their operation is chemical free. "There is a complete absence of chemical use throughout the property. Instead we grow a variety of plants and herbs that we make into compost teas to harness their beneficial properties. It is essentially a from nature to nature philosophy. As such, compost and Biodynamic preparations are extremely important in our vineyards. We have multiple compost piles and as they mature, the resulting humus is worked into our vineyards and potential vineyard sites throughout the farm. It is our goal to achieve long-term earth and vine health."
While a trip for tasting is highly recommended, do consider joining their wine club as well. Their wine offerings are excellent. The event I attended, along with seasonal events, will be worth the drive and the commitment to purchase wine. The special wines selected for members along with a nice discount on your purchases adds to the rationale for becoming a Tinoosh Wine Club member.
Address: Maysara Winery, McMinnville, Oregon
Phone: (503) 843-1234
Tasting Room: Open 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
(last call at 4:30pm) $10 Tasting Fee
Calling in advance is appreciated