The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking and hard work, not by chance. It is not just about self promotion, it is about giving back to the community and the land. That is the story of the owners of Maysara Winery.
Maysara Winery is the success story of Iranian immigrants, Mahmood(Moe) and Flora Momtazi, along with their three daughters. In April 1997 Moe and Flora bought 496 acres of an abandoned wheat farm in McMinnville, Oregon. Without the use of any chemicals, they turned around the soils, removed plants and weeds and returned the soils back to their natural state.
Organic farming methods were implemented as early as the very first two years. By 1998 they had planted 13 acres of Pommard Pinot Noir. Today Momtazi is one of of the most sought after grapes in Willamette Valley. They provide fruit to some of Willamette Valley’s top producer, in addition to making their own wines.
The American Dream
Moe and Flora came to the United States in the early 70’s to get his engineering degree. They then returned back to Iran after obtaining his degree. In 1978 things got hostile in Iran and the Shah was overthrown and Khomeini took over. Moe and Flora escaped Iran through the mountain of Pakistan on a motorcycle. After stops in Spain, Italy, and Mexico, they sought political asylum in the United States.
Moe started his own engineering company here in the United States, but he always had a passion for wine. He and his father had made wine back in Iran, so founding a winery was his lifelong dream. The word Maysara is a Persian term meaning winery.
Their philosophy is that winemaking is done entirely in the vineyards, thus their belief that minimal intervention is needed. They believe they are simply stewards of the land and thus maintain the soils, vines and fruit with utmost care and respect. They believe healthy soils and grapes produce the highest quality of wines.
Many vineyards grow vines organically but the Momtazi’s took it more seriously and are biodynamically certified. They distribute their own compost, inoculated with biodynamic preparations and distribute it underneath the vines as needed. They have also eliminated the use of minerals which need to be mined from the earth.
They grow a variety of herbs and flowers that have been used medicinally for thousands of years. They make teas with them to be sprayed either on the foliage or injected through the irrigation line to the root system. They apply these teas in homeopathic amounts in order to maintain the vitality and healthy immune system of the plants.
In order to have a complete ecosystems, two big reservoirs were built on the estate and forest land were kept intact. There are pastures and meadows throughout the property that attracts animals, birds and wildlife.
No commercial yeasts are used to make the wines. They allow the native yeast found on the grape skins to naturally initiate primary fermentation. No commercial yeast or enzyme use is allowed and they do not adjust acidity or add sugar.
Maysara wines are free of chemicals and pesticides. The fruits are clean and organic and wholesome. The winery that was built in 2012 was made mostly from materials that were recycled or found right on the estate.
Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir 2012 ($30) – According to ancient Persian legend, King Jamsheed was able to observe his entire realm by peering into his full wine goblet. This is a generous Pinot Noir, the palate is greeted with vibrant black fruit, cracked pepper and spice. Nice smooth soft tannins persist with a wonderfully long lingering finish.
Maysara Asha Pinot Noir 2012 ($45) – Asha is an ancient Persian word describing one who has a clean conscience for good thoughts, words and deeds with a pure demeanor and performance. The Asha Pinot Noir is elegant and sensual. There is a beautiful jewel like garnet color in the glass. On the palate there is a tantalising hint of cherries, cloves and pepper. Silky soft tannins coat mouth. A beautiful wine that is bright, fresh and savory.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is so versatile, which makes it a perfect pairing year round for a variety of cuisine and occasions. I chose to pair the wine grilled salmon as the high acidity in Oregon Pinot Noirs complement salmon delectably. The fish is heavy enough to stand up to a Pinot Noir but light enough flavor to allow the wine to shine through.
Recipe – Grilled Salmon with Lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 Wild Alaskan salmon fillets
- In a small bowl, mix the first five ingredients; rub over fillets. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Place salmon on grill. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil for 4 minutes. Turn; grill 3-6 minutes longer or until fish just begins to flake.
- Serve with Maysara Asha Pinot Noir 2012
Wine Pairing Weekend
The Wine Pairing Weekend Group is focusing on Willamette Valley’s Biodynamic wines this May. Join our Twitter chat at 11am Eastern Time on May 5, 2019. Follow along hashtag #winepw as we discuss the wine and food pairings from the Willamette Valley. Check out my fellow scribes and their articles of the month.
- David of Cooking Chat has prepared “Salmon, Farro and Mushrooms with Winderlea Pinot Noir”
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camila is celebrating with “Simple Pleasures, A Birthday Cheeseboard, & Keeler Estate Vineyards’ 2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling”
- Jill of L’Occasion writes about “Peace, Bread, Land and Wine’: A Meal With Brooks Winery”
- Jennifer of Vino Travels will share “Biodynamic Wines of the Willamette Valley with King Estate”
- Lori of Dracaena Wines will present “Continuing the Biodynamic Legacy #WinePW“
- Jane from Always Ravenous pairs “Wild Alaskan Salmon with Herbed Ricotta and Oregon Pinot Noir”
- Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings combines “Biodynamic Grüner Veltliner and Pinot Noir from Johan Vineyards Plus Surf ‘n’ Turf Dinner”
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares “Ode to Oregon: Johan’s Biodynamic Expression of Place (#WinePW)”
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator will present “Our land is our life and our life is our wine” — Cooper Mountain Pinot Paired with Duck #WinePW
- Deana from Asian Test Kitchen has whipped up “Oregon Orange Wine Sparkles with Indian Curry”
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm discovers “Dammit!! These are some great wines from Willamette.
- Lauren of The Swirling Dervish will tempt us with “Pork Loin, Mushrooms, and Fiddlehead Ferns Meet Biodynamic Pinot Noir from Bergström Wines (#WinePW)”
- Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog brings us “A Taste of Cooper Mountain Vineyards at the Table #WinePW“
- Jeff of Food Wine Click is pairing “Biodynamic Willamette Valley with Brick House and Harissa Chicken”
- Payal of Keep the Peas is presenting “Living off the Land: King Estate Pinot Noir + Mushroom Pâté”
- Rupal of Syrah Queen is sharing “Maysara Winery – Iranian Immigrants Achieving The American Dream”
- Jade of Tasting Pour will share “Thai Green Curry Rockfish and Montinore Estate Gewurztraminer #WinePW”