Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Martin Woods

New, Fine American Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
March 12, 2018


Evan Martin

On a cold day in February the next fine thing in Oregon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay came unannounced into the store in a backpack born by a bearded man in blue jeans.

Evan Martin was in town to find a distributor for his Martin Woods wines. One recommended a few stores and restaurants for him to visit, we among them.

Burgundy is the Holy Grail for many a New World producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They look for reasons to call their wine burgundian, but it has seemed to me that they use that term in as varied manners as the blind men describing the elephant.

Some focus on a prominent and elongated nose. Some others see slab sided masses of fruit or the columnar legs that wood infuses or a stringy tail of acids.

Evan did not claim the Burgundy mantle. He wants to make a wine of Oregonian terroir, to the extent of even using barrels made from a species of oak native to the Pacific Northwest.

His wines seem to me to have more of the spirit that currently animates the better Burgundian winemakers. It is one of careful modulation of a wine's elements; fruit, acids, alcohol, sometimes wood; one that makes a complex and balanced articulation of Pinot or Chardonnay. We tasted that in his wines and thought they were very fine stuff.

You will not find them reviewed. Martin Woods is a one,-man one-woman enterprise staffed by him and his wife. The wines are too new and the production too small to have been noticed yet.

You may know Evan’s work though. For over a decade he was the winemaker-behind-the-scene of the noted Belle Pente Winery. He struck off on his own only a couple of years ago to found Martin Woods.

Of late we’ve been presented with quite a number of Pinots and Chardonnays from all over the world.Martin Woods were the most impressive. They are wines of poise and delicacy. They do not overawe with their power or richness, but beguile with a just-so composure. They are for Pinot lovers at prices for more commonplace wines

The Yamhill Valley Vineyard Chardonnay is an excellent example. Oh so lightly oaked with creamy texture and a delineated acidity, it would hold its own against many from the Cote d’Or. The Pinot Noir Yamhill Springs displays a weightless richness and elegance. The Pinot Noir Jessie James Vineyard does also, but with an added dimension of pure soft sexiness.

My notes below are from bottles that had been open for 18 hours. This is encouraging in terms of their aging potential, but might mean that you would need to decant them to taste the same qualities we did. They demonstrate not only the winemaker’s technical ability, but his taste and masterful creativity. I think that their reputation will grow in time. We are in at the beginning. You might well be also.


2016 Martin Woods Chardonnay Yamhill Valley Vineyard; Aroma: fresh, lightly oaked, rather dense, finely delineated, rather firm, restrained very pure chicle; Mouth: clean pure pretty rather fine precise, elegant, tight acid, firm; Very Good - Excellent  $42; Mixed Case, 37.80; Case, 35.70

2016 Martin Woods Pinot Noir Yamhill Springs; Aroma: deep and firm, plummy, dense, finely delineated, deep & full, very pure elegant, dark fruit; Mouth: smooth dark-hued, smooth textured, clean rather pretty, very pure, airy and light; Very Good - Excellent 35; Mixed Case, 31.5; Case, 29.75

2016 Martin Woods Pinot Noir Jessie James Vineyard; Aroma: finely elegant very pure, lightly ripe; Mouth: clean racy fine tannins, very rich very pure rather fine, elegant, fine-grained tannins, very rich, al dente; Excellent 42; Mixed Case, 37.8; Case, 35.70


Martin Woods Sampler Case:  4 bottles each of the above wines - $399


The Martin Woods wines will arrive at the end of the month


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com


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           - Len Rothenberg