The Wine: L’Eau Epicée 2019
Maloof Wines L’Eau Epicée 2019 is a white sparkling natural wine made from a blend of 50% Riesling, and 50% Gewurztraminer dry-farmed in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeast, unfined, unfiltered, low sulfites.
The Producer: Maloof Wines
A true yin and yang team. One materials engineer grounded in hard science, one restaurant professional with a sensory aligned M.O. Two nerds with a penchant for good hospitality and properly fermented pizza dough.
Ross Maloof broke into the production side of the wine industry initially by interning for good friend and winemaker Brianne Day. Prior to getting his first taste for winemaking, he worked for just over a decade in the Philadelphia dining scene, with a huge focus on beverage. Most notably, he worked as the beverage director and general manager for Vedge Restaurant group. Over the past few years, Ross has become increasingly bi-coastal, spending a little more time each vintage in the Willamette Valley, and producing his first wine in 2015.
Bee (Selman) is the full partner and co-winemaker of Maloof Wines. She has brought an immeasurable amount of hard scientific knowledge and dedication to the project. Prior to playing with grapes, she worked for close to a decade as a materials science engineer within the aerospace industry. As a long-time lover of food and wine, Bee turned her scientific eye from rotorcraft to vinification during the 2016 harvest.
Together, in 2017 Ross & Bee decided to leave their respective careers on the East coast behind to go on a westward journey to be closer to the magic. Who knows what the future may hold! Maloof Wines are proudly produced at the base of the Dundee Hills inside of Day Camp. (Source: Minimum Selections)
The Region: Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley AVA is located in western Oregon, stretching for about 120 miles south of Portland. The Willamette River runs through the entire region. Willamette Valley is famous primarily for its Pinot Noirs, and it’s become one of the world’s benchmark for this cold-climate grape varietal, in some cases rivaling Burgundy.
The development of viticulture and winemaking in Willamette Valley can be attributed to the curiosity of a handful of University of California Davis students. In the 1960s they explored the area’s potential for viticulture and found that Pinot Noir would have adapted the best, and the rest is history.
In 1979, a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley took part in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, beating several Burgundy Pinot Noirs, which at the time were regarded as the best expression of this fascinating grape varietal. This put Oregon and especially Willamette Valley one the wine world map.
Willamette Valley has been its own AVA since 1984, but in 2002 a movement to differentiate the valley’s terroirs started. As a result, several new sub-AVAs have been established in the past fifteen years: Dundee Hills, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carlton District, and Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge.
The Terroir of Willamette Valley
The climate of Willamette Valley is predominantly maritime with rainy winters and dry summers. Temperature variation between day and night can be substantial. Pinot Noir, a grape varietal which tends to ripen early and favors cool climates, has adapted perfectly to the region.
The characteristic soil formation of Willamette Valley is rich in iron and is called Jory. It can be found pretty much everywhere in the valley and it’s responsible for Willamette’s signature Pinot Noir profile.