In 1987 Fort Worth native Rollin Soles set his sights on Willamette Valley as the ideal location to produce traditional method, sparkling wine in the US. Sure, California had been doing it for years, but Oregon was growing as the go-to destination for quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the cool-climate influence, similar to that of Burgundy, starting Argyle Winery.
Over the past 30+ years, the region has continued to grow, change, and develop, with more and more winemakers arriving to try their hand at crafting premium wine from finicky Pinot Noir fruit, including quite a few wineries now producing traditional method sparklers. However, nestled in the Dundee Hills of Willamette Valley, Argyle remains a go-to, farming over 400 acres of fruit throughout the valley.
Argyle 2016 Vintage Brut Sparkling Wine ($28) blends 55% Chardonnay with 35% Pinot Noir and a touch of Pinot Meunier fruit from sustainably grown estate vineyards in the Dundee Hills and heavily Pacific influenced Eola-Amity Hills. Concentrated, elegant, and textured, the wine opens with toasted cream and biscuit notes, followed by delicate stone fruit and floral notes of white peach, orange blossom. The cooling winds off the Pacific through the vineyards give the wine gorgeous freshness and acidity, with a touch of crushed stone and saline on the finish.