The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 is a vintage-dated small-batch estate-grown Sparkling wine made in the Champagne style. Argyle was founded in 1987 and produced exceptional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Reisling, and Sparkling wines.
This Bubbly consists of 55% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier. The Chardonnay was sourced from the Knudsen Vineyard in the Dundee sub-AVA and the Lone Star Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA. Argyle farmed the Pinot Noir at the Spirit Hill Vineyard of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
The Chardonnay harvest began on September 8th, and the Pinot Noir harvest ended on October 14th, which gives you an excellent idea of the different growing seasons for these two grapes. The first fermentation was performed in 95% stainless steel tanks and 5% neutral oak barrels. The wine in the neutral oak will add a slightly different character to the wine.
The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 is reasonably small-batch Bubbly; less than 29,000 cases of the 2017 vintage were produced. That is enough wine to be readily available at fine wine shops but not enough to be mass-marketed. The top entry-level Champagne from France produces a million bottles a year.
The second fermentation (in each and every bottle) for the Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 lasts a minimum of three years. In Champagne, the minimum length of second fermentation is 18 months, and additional aging usually means a higher price.
Champagne is located on the northern end of Burgundy, which is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Champagne started producing Sparkling wine because the weather became too cold for the grapes to become ripe consistently. Sparkling wine grapes are picked before they ripen and then are brought up to the desired level of sweetness.
Willamette Valley is an elite Pinot Noir growing region; some experts say it may be the best area of Pinot Noir. Oregon Chardonnay has yet to receive the same acclaim but is very promising.
The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 is a vintage-dated Bubbly, with exceptional grapes, made in small batches with three years of second fermentation. I found it for $21. A Champagne from France with those exact details would start in the $75 range.
Argyle Winery’s experience with Champagne-style Sparkling wine only goes back a decade or so, and top Champagne produces have a century or more of history. But Argyle has learned from Champagne, and modern equipment levels the playing field.
The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 looks to be a very worthy competitor to Champagne wines. It seems like it has leap-frogged the more affordable Champagne wines and is taking on the higher-end Champagne wine. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is silver with a tint of gold; the bubbles are energetic and plentiful. The nose is sliced apple, baking crusty bread, a hint of Irish butter, pear, French vanilla, and lemon mixed with peach. The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 is well-balanced and sleek, with solid acidity and good flavor.
This Bubbly tastes like green apple, pink lemonade, dried cherry, with apricot. The mid-palate offers a nutty/salty sensation, unsweetened pineapple, a little brioche, and sweet spice. The acidity is excellent; the flavors have plenty of room to unfold.
- I have read that there is a Champagne shortage for the Holidays in 2021, French Bubbly did not make it into the US in its usual numbers. The price for Champagne has gone up when typically December is the time for Champagne sales.
- This is the perfect time to start experimenting and searching out worthy replacements and the Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 is a prime example of a Bubbly that in the past may have been over-looked.
- The Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2017 is a classy well-made delicious Sparkling wine that sells for less than half the price of Champagne.
- Wine preference is subjective, but it is possible to enjoy the Oregon Bubbly more than competing Champagne wines.