It begins with a phone call. The caller ID reads "Applied Materials" a technology company based here in Oregon.
A deep bass voice rumbles and a greeting is issued: "Dean this is Mo Ayoub. How are you?"
Mo (short for Mohamad) is the owner of a four-acre vineyard in the hills above Dundee, Ore. Since 2004, this vineyard has produced some very profound wines that have earned high praise from wine critics and consumers alike. This acclaim quickly placed Mo's wines into a cult-like status among pinot noir aficionados across the country. In 2009, Mo and his winemaking team started working with grapes from other vineyards to produce two vineyard-designated pinot noirs and a chardonnay.
Here is a rundown of the Ayoub wines (all notes refer to the 2009 releases):
The Estate Pinot is always a deep, rich and full-bodied wine that features aromas of candied citrus and red fruit. On the palate there are flavors of blackberries and spice.
The Brittan Vineyard Pinot Noir opens with rich scents of blackberry and minerals, which are followed by flavors of dark fruits and cassis. This is a very intense and opulent pinot noir.
The Marsh Vineyard Pinot Noir is a satisfying contrast to the first two wines, and it features more red fruits such as raspberry, both in the aromatics and on the palate. It is a "bright" wine with a little more acidity than either the Estate or Brittan wines.
The Ayoub Chardonnay features classic tropical aromas of pineapple and mango. It is aged in both stainless steel and oak barrels, and the resulting wine has a moderate amount of toast and vanilla flavors with a delicious nuttiness on the finish.
Oddly enough, I have never met Mo Ayoub, but I feel that I know him through his wines and through our minimalist phone conversations. His passion for his vineyards and his wines is clearly evident when he describes them both. His enthusiasm for the Oregon wine industry is infectious, and he is clearly enjoying his contributions to that industry.