This Week’s Wine Tasting

American Wine- Oregon, Washington and California



Argyle Winery
“Prospecting the New World’s coolest latitudes, Brian Croser and Rollin Soles staked a claim in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a place ideal for late season ripened Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit. Since 1987, Argyle Winery has produced world-class methode champenoise Sparkling wine, barrel fermented Chardonnay and ‘silky’ textured Pinot Noir from low yielding vines on winery farmed hillside slopes. Argyle was named “OREGON’S PREMIER WINERY” by Wine Spectator in 2000.”

Argyle Brut 2009
Willamette Valley, Oregon. 59% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay. “All Argyle sparkling wines are vintage dated. Two grape varieties, Oregon Chardonnay & Oregon Pinot Noir, are used in Argyle Brut, Knudsen Vineyard Brut & Extended Tirage Brut. The percentages change with each vintage and are indicated on the front label. Argyle Blanc de Blancs is 100% Dijon clone Chardonnay. Argyle’s unique “Extended Tirage Brut” has received 94 and 95 points, making it the highest scoring sparkling wine from any US winery.” “Lemon peel, strawberry pith, fresh ciabatta dough. The center is downreaching and creamy. In the background, a faint, brine accent persists, remnant of freshly shucked Kumumoto oysters. Energetic acidity and length, there is a satisfying resolution about this cuvée, inspiring one to reach for another glass of the fizz!” 90 Wine Spectator- “Bright and complex, with juicy acidity supporting the pear, tobacco and lime flavors, singing together in harmony on the lively finish.” $20.99

Argyle Chardonnay 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. “The Willamette Valley Chardonnay is a blend from two or three of our wineries.” “This is 100% Dijon clone, 100% stainless steel fermented chardonnay. Faint straw, almost green in color, the aromatics bring to mind rock melon, white tea, and Eureka lemon. The mid-palate is sleek with mouth-watering acidity and a deceptively silky texture. The richness is sneaky, waiting to be unlocked with, perhaps, pan-seared scallops, beurre blanc, shallots, black pepper.” “We could say that “Mother Nature made the wines in the 2012 Vintage. Bloom and fruit-set traveled from normal to well below normal. Cold weather and some negative effects from hail drove yields generally down. But, that can be a GOOD thing as smaller clusters and good dry weather leads to ripe fruit. The key challenge to the successful farmer this year was the fact that the period of July through October was the driest since record keeping began in the late 1800’s. Potential desiccation was further exacerbated by very dry, east winds coming out of Eastern Oregon & Washington’s high desert. This wind period was the longest in memory in Argyle’s 27 years of Oregon winemaking. Vines already starved for moisture will not fair well under these late fall conditions.” $16.99

Argyle Pinot Noir 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. “The 2012 vintage for Pinot Noir made itself. Fermented in small lots, and blended for purity, this year’s blend croons of ripe, red raspberry, morello cherry and a hint of backwoods spice. No other word can describe the palate but lush. Gentle, slightly firm tannin beneath, the acid sings true and long. Enjoy early, or sit on it a few years for enhanced nuance.” 90 Wine Spectator– “Lithe, with a nice transparency to the polished texture and the tea leaf-accented cherry and herb flavors, sliding easily into a graceful finish.” “Depending upon the quality of the vintage, Argyle makes anywhere from 2 to 4 Pinot Noirs: Reserve Pinot Noir, Nuthouse Pinot Noir, Spirithouse Pinot Noir and Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Typically, all Pinot Noir harvested for still wine receives a 4-5 day cold maceration prior to fermentation. Fermentation takes place in open top 2-ton bins using one of our proprietary wine yeasts. At the end of alcoholic fermentation the new wine receives a second 4-5 day maceration prior to pressing. Reserve Pinot Noir, Nuthouse Pinot Noir, and Spirithouse Pinot Noir spend 12 to 14 months aging in French oak barrels prior to bottling while Willamette Valley Pinot Noir spends 8 to 9 months in French oak barrels.” $18.99


MacRostie Winery
“Since the release of its first highly praised 1987 Carneros Chardonnay, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards has strived to create balanced and lush wines that reflect the elegant depth of their cool-climate origins. MacRostie Winery and Vineyards was founded by winemaker Steve MacRostie in 1987. As a believer in the unique character of Sonoma Coast fruit, and an innovative winemaker pioneering a more fresh and sophisticated style of Chardonnay, Steve dedicated himself to crafting wines embodying an authentic sense of place. To do so, he began working closely with several small, independent vineyards to ensure continuous access to the finest grapes. At the same time, Steve worked to champion quality in the region, both in the vineyards and the winery.”

MacRostie Chardonnay 2012
Sonoma Coast, California. “The grapes came from several excellent vineyards in southern Sonoma, including the Sangiacomo, Champlin Creek and Hi Vista vineyards. Making their debut this season were some prime Russian River properties, including Saralee’s and the famous Dutton Ranch. The Wildcat Mountain Vineyard played a significant role as well… most of the juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation, 18% of which were new. The barrel-fermented lots were aged on the lees for six months, with occasional stirring to increase richness and body. A select few lots were fermented in stainless, and never went to barrel, which emphasizes fruit and aromatics. Pale straw gold in color, with honey-suckle and jasmine aromas. Citrus flavors; kefir lime and tangerine, dominate the taste profile while the mouth feel is elegant and full, with a ripe pear and a touch of vanilla caramel from the oak. The finish is soft and smooth, very dry, but leaves lingering lush primary fruit flavors.” $17.99

Canoe Ridge Vineyard focuses primarily on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The estate vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA was first planted in 1989, followed by the opening of its Walla Walla winery, established in 1994. The name comes from the vineyard site on the eastern side of Washington adjacent to the Columbia River. Famed explorers Lewis & Clark named this crest of land; they thought the ridge looked like an overturned canoe. In its two decades of winemaking, Canoe Ridge Vineyard has earned more than twenty-five scores of 90 points or better.

Canoe Ridge Vineyard Merlot ‘The Expedition’ 2011
 Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington. Vineyard Sources: Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Wallula Vineyard, Alder Ridge. 86% Merlot, 14% Syrah. “Smoky oak and berry aromas with cherry, jammy raspberry and strawberry flavors, beautifully structured and wrapped in a silky finish. Cases Produced: 12,500.” 88 Wine Spectator- “Features firm, crinkly tannins around a lighter-style frame, offering currant, cherry and spice flavors that linger.” $14.99


Waterbrook Winery
“Founded in 1984 as Walla Walla’s fourth founded winery, Waterbrook is known for fruit-forward, food-friendly wines–primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. With more than 150 combined best buys and critical scores of 90 points or higher, Winemaker John Freeman works with our outstanding vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley and throughout the greater Columbia Valley. Whether touring Washington Wine Country or opening a bottle of Waterbrook wine, as Freeman says, “This is what Washington tastes like.” Cheers!”

Waterbrook Melange Noir 2010
Walla Walla, Columbia Valley, Washington. Vineyards: Doval, Oasis, Mirage, Canyon Vineyard Ranch, Benches, Willard, Elephant Mountain and Blackrock. “25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 13% Mourvedre, 8% Tempranillo, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Grenache, 5% misc. varieties. 20% new American and Hungarian, balance of 1-5 year mixed oak. Lighter style, fruity and easy to pair with pretty much any food. This wine is very food friendly.” 88 Wine Spectator- “Fresh and deftly balanced, featuring refined currant and plum fruit riding over a background of roasted meat and roasted peppers, with refined tannins wrapping around the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and others.” $14.99



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