Episode #411 – How Oregon Wines Got Their French Accent!

One-on-one with Laurent Montalieu, Founder of Hyland Estates in the Willamette Valley

Laurent Montalieu, Proprietor and Winemaker of Hyland Estates

Laurent Montalieu, Proprietor and Winemaker of Hyland Estates

This edition of Grape Encounters is the first in a long-anticipated month-long series recorded in the famed Willamette Valley wine of Northwest Oregon. It’s a place where you’ll find true winemaking pioneers who have no inclination to copy what their counterparts in other regions do. They are quick to point out that Oregon wines are best when they are allowed to express their sense of place… and to that end, this very special series begins at Highland Estates where David is joined by founding winemaker, Laurent Montalieu.

Laurent took his first steps in the vineyard in Medoc owned by his great grandfather. He grew up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and returned to his family’s homeland of Bordeaux for summer vacations and high school. It was through his family’s deep commitment to the land that he learned to respect the vines and the wines they produced.

His interest in viticulture led him to the Institute of Oenology of Bordeaux, where he immersed himself in studies of vineyard management and winemaking. After graduating in 1987, he worked for Chateau La Tour Blanche near Sauternes, and Domaine Mumm in California’s Napa Valley before moving to Oregon. In 1995, Laurent joined WillaKenzie as a partner and winemaker. WillaKenzie is also where he became something of a living legend.

Today, Laurent handcrafts the Soléna Estate and Hyland Estates wines while also serving as winemaker and co-founder of NW Wine Company, a state-of-the-art winemaking facility in nearby Dundee.

In the show’s second half, David is taken to the Hyland Vineyard, which was first planted in 1971. This magnificent property is located very much off the beaten path and is one of the most revered vineyards in the Pacific Northwest. Pretty much the only way you’re likely to find it is to have an “in the know” tour guide. In this case its Colin Eddy, the company’s National Sales Manager. Colin is an absolute encyclopedia of knowledge about the vineyard… but there’s even more expertise on the journey. David is thrilled to have Aaron Bartels of Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits join in on the conversation. Aaron spent many hours arranging many all of the vineyard visits and, quite frankly, this special series from Oregon would not have taken place were it not for Aaron. Thank you Aaron and major kudos for your awesome work!

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