Bargain Bubbly: 2007 Argyle Brut, Oregon

by dccheese on December 9, 2011

in American-NewEngland,American-West,Bubbly,cheese plates,Entertaining with Cheese

It’s no secret that sparkling wine and cheese play well together — it’s the premise behind our blog’s name, after all. But it doesn’t always have to be expensive, or even, sorry France, real Champagne. As holiday festivities kick into high gear, we thought we’d taste a few more affordable sparklers, for your sake. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. I know “bargain” wine listings typically use a $20 or under price range, but for sparkling wine, I’m capping it at $30. Sparkling wine is, by nature, a more celebratory beverage after all. And first up, a sparkling wine from Oregon’s Argyle Winery. My home state is known for its pinot noir, and yet not many Oregon winemakers use the grape for sparkling wines. (Real Champagne can be made with any combination of three grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay or pinot meunier.) Argyle has been specializing in methode champenoise sparkling wine since 1987, with the ratio of pinot noir to chardonnay varying with each vintage. The grapes for its sparkling wines primarily come from a high-elevation vineyard in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

argyle brut sparkling wine

The 2007 Argyle Brut ($25) had a light straw color and tiny, delicate bubbles. The flavor was soft and nuanced as well, with a hint of pear. That aspect worked nicely with the pear-brandy kissed Rogue River Blue. I mentioned yesterday that we also had Tumalo Farm‘s Rimrocker on the board. Unfortunately my Oregon cheeseboard was a wedge short as it’s hard to to find a creamy bloomy-rind Oregon cheese on this coast … at least at any of my local cheese shops. So Moses Sleeper from Vermont’s Jasper Hill Farm came to the rescue to provide the creamy counterpoint. (If you’re on the West Coast, look for Mt. Townsend Creamery’s Cirrus or something from River’s Edge.)

champagne cocktailTo get into the holiday spirit I made a round of champagne cocktails (mid-pour, at left), in which the Argyle performed admirably. It was even more pleasant on its own, however, as we savored and sipped the afternoon away.

{My champagne cocktail recipe du jour: 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (in the absence of a sugar cube), 3 dashes cherry bitters, a splash of brandy, topped off with champagne sparkling wine.}

Experts Say: Loyal readers know that despite our blog name, we focus our attention on cheese far more than wine and do not pretend to be professional wine reviewers. For a second opinion, see Palate Press’s tasting notes. Wine Spectator scored the 2007 Argyle Brut a 90.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: