Since I had never gone wine tasting in Oregon before, I asked cousin T if she had any recommendations. She hadn't been either, so she asked a coworker, who emailed her a list of recommendations. I forwarded the list to GP, who looked them up and narrowed down our choices. I was armed with an old wine guide from the Oregonian and some pamphlets put out by the tourist information office from when I stopped in to ask for the cross street of the smallest park in the world, but it was still nice to have a list of wineries to work from.
We passed a lot of wineries along 99W, so I was pleased to see that the tasting room for Argyle Winery was in a quaint converted house. Sparkling wine is great, but the aesthetics make it better.
After parking on the side, I was happy to see sunny daffodils.
I miss the daffodils and crocuses that I planted at my old house. Every February and March when they popped up, I felt like spring was coming.
I can just imagine sitting on this porch and looking at how colorful and beautiful the garden would be in the summer.
So far, even if the wines weren't great, I was already pretty excited by how cute the Argyle Winery tasting room looked.
Did you know the smaller the bubbles, the better the bubbly? I learned that from Ian Blackburn of Learn About Wine at a Los Angeles Magazine cooking demonstration by Neal Fraser featuring Domaine Carneros sparkling wines.
Individual tastes were $3. A flight, which includes five tastes and a complimentary riesling, was $10. The price is waived with the purchase of three bottles. We opted to get a tasting flight of the sparkling wine and pinot noir.
We started off with a pour each of the 2007 Brut, $27 per bottle, 63% chardonnay and 37% pinot noir grapes, the taste of which was pear to red apple fruit into vanilla spice with a creamy texture.
As you can see, we ended up sampling a lot of wine. Quite generous pours actually when you multiple that glass above times 14. Well, divided by two since GP and I were sharing.
Descriptions are paraphrased from the Argyle Winery handout. I am not sophisticated enough to taste any of these nuances. :P
Next up was the 2006 Blanc de Blancs, $50 per bottle, 100% dijon clone chardonnay grapes, with yeast biscuit and brioche flavors.
Third, 2006 Knudsen Vineyard Brut, $50 per bottle, 80% pinot noir, 20% chardonnay grapes, with raspberry and plum tart flavors.
Fourth, 2000 Extended Tirage Brut, $60 per bottle, 54% chardonnay and 46% pinot noir grapes, with a decade-old sparkling wine with a complex fruit and rich mouth-feel. This wine received 95 points from Wine Spectator, although I don't know if my palate quite appreciated it.
Fifth, 2008 Black Brut, $30 per bottle, with currant and blackberry flavors. A red sparkling wine was interesting to look at, but the mouthful was way too weird for me. It was fizzy, not just bubbly. The wine guy said people either loved or hated it.
Sixth was a break from the sparkling wines with the 2008 Riesling, $18 per bottle, with tangerine peel and peach flavors. I liked this one, but then, I tend to like sweet white wines.
Seventh, 2007 Nuthouse Chardonnay, $33 per bottle, with a concentration of white peach, melon, and Meyer lemon flavors framed by roasted hazelnut, vanilla, and key lime flavors. After the sparkling wines and rieslings, the chardonnay just seemed very lackluster in comparison.
Then we moved on to the pinot noirs. Eighth, 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir, $40 per bottle, blended from three vineyards with red delicious apple, cherry, clean oak, rose petal, and baking spice flavors.
Ninth, 2008 Nuthouse Pinot Noir, $50 per bottle, their biggest and boldest style with ripe, balanced rich fruit flavors.
Tenth, 2007 Cowhouse Pinot Noir, $50 per bottle, made from super ripe grapes, sweet, sensuous fruit flavors balanced with firm tannins and a powerful structure.
Eleventh, 2007 Spirithouse Pinot Noir, $75 per bottle, raspberry and cherry flavors made deeper by fresh earth, new leather, and a hint of black pepper spice. Say what? I definitely don't remember any earthy or leathery flavors?!
Twelfth, with pinot noirs done, we received complimentary pours of its new release, 2009 Nusshaus Riesling, $18 per bottle, the middle bottle in the picture below. This was my favorite, and the only bottle in my price range, so I bought one for my parents and one for me.
We finished off with a dessert wine, the bottle on the left in the picture above, 2008 Minus Five, $30 per bottle, peach and orange blossom. The description said a golden yellow color, like bottled sunshine. And indeed it was. This dessert wine was like drinking juice for me.
Argyle Winery makes 50,000 cases a year. As we were drinking we chatted with the wine guy, I want to say his name was Royce but I honestly can't remember. He was so friendly and helpful too! Even though I only bought two bottles of wine, he waived the tasting fee.
We asked him for suggestions for our next destination. I circled several on the map while dutifully noting their pluses. His personal favorite though was Hawks View Cellars in Sherwood, which was only a few minutes away. His description of the winery was so compelling that we decided to head there next. It was appointment only though and he was nice enough to call and arrange one for us in another hour.
691 N Hwy 99W
Dundee, OR 97115
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All Oregon posts can be found with the tag Series: Oregon, but I suggest reading this particular trip in this order:
I'm Coming Home
Bunk Sandwiches - Portland - Oregon
Horsetail Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Multnomah Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Wahkeena Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Bridal Veil Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Shepperd's Dell Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Latourell Falls (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Crown Point Vista House (Winter) - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Nai Xao Xa Cuon Banh Trang (Vietnamese Sauteed Lemongrass Venison Rice Paper Rolls)
Thirsty Lion Pub and Grill - Tigard - Oregon
Argyle Winery - Dundee - Oregon
1 year ago today, Canh Tao/Rong Bien (Vietnamese Seaweed Soup).
2 years ago today, Bamboodles Restaurant - San Gabriel (Closed).
3 years ago today, Angkor Thom: Victory Gate, Bayon Temple, Prasats Suor Prat, Terrace of the Leper King, Terrace of the Elephants, and Phimeanakas - Cambodia.
4 years ago today, Japanese Gobo Root (Burdock) Fries.