Goodfellow Family Cellars 2015 Willamette Valley Syrah

Celebrating the fool in all of us

Marcus Goodfellow makes serious wine, but he hardly takes himself seriously. In fact, he celebrates the role of the “fool” – that character in Renaissance literature that stands apart from the learned men, but is nonetheless wise and worldly, with a critical viewpoint shaped by his position outside society.

That’s not a bad metaphor for Marcus Goodfellow’s approach to winemaking. In his early years, he insisted on adorning every bottle with an image of the fool. Rather than pursue enology and viticulture through formal academic training, Marcus’s education in wine came through apprenticeship and informal mentoring while he worked in the restaurant business.

Unlike some in the Willamette Valley, Marcus didn’t grow up in a vineyard – but rather on an 80-acre farm outside Silverton, with goats, cows, blueberries, apples, and currants. From the farm to the table, Marcus found himself working in Portland’s finest restaurants – and credits Heathman chef Philippe Boulot with expanding his wine and food horizons.

Today, Marcus’s “foolish” approach includes restricting himself exclusively to dry-farmed (non-irrigated) vineyards that are committed to environmental sustainability. And it shines through in the wine – hardly foolish at all!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Goodfellow Family Cellars, McMinnville, Oregon
2015 Willamette Valley Syrah

In France's Northern Rhône Valley, in a wine-growing region called the Côte-Rôtie, you’ll find rows of red Syrah grapes planted alongside rows of white Viognier grapes. By law, they’ll co-ferment both grapes in the tank together (rather than blending after the fact.)

Well, that’s exactly what Marcus Goodfellow has done here. He co-fermented 92% Syrah and 8% Viognier from the organically-farmed Deux Vert vineyard. Long before Goodfellow Family Cellars was named to the Slow Wines list, Marcus was talking about taking the “slow food” approach to wine: “Nothing is rushed. Each process is given full attention, and the time required to maintain the true nature of the vineyard.”

The Willamette Valley isn’t typical for Syrah, so Marcus lets it hang, hang, hang on the vines until the last possible moment to capture as much fall sunshine before the rains come.

You’ll taste those deep notes of dark fruit and smoked meat of the Syrah, elevated with floral grace notes and peach flavors from the Viognier. So good!

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2019, Slow Wine Movement Willamette Valley | Syrah

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