The Oregon Sparkling Wine Story
IN THE WORLD OF MODERN WINE, few wineries allow their wines to benefit from extended aging due to the significant expense involved. Argyle takes a different path. In the 1980s, Argyle’s founder, Rollin Soles became friends with legendary Bollinger Vintner Christian Bizot, who would regularly visit Oregon to taste with Rollin. Impressed by the remarkable quality of Argyle’s sparkling program, he suggested that Argyle hold back a portion of its Vintage Brut each year to make a special “Extended Tirage” bottling similar to Bollinger’s revered Grande Année.
Today, Argyle is one of the only American wineries with an Extended Tirage program going back decades. “It’s an amazing thing to have a cellar full of treasures like ours,” says Nate Klostermann, who as Rollin’s handpicked successor, has made Argyle’s wines since 2013. “We still have more that 40 cases of our inaugural 1987 Vintage Brut under crown cap, where it has been aging for over 30 years!”
While not quite that old, the 2008 Argyle Extended Tirage Brut offers a remarkable case for the benefits of extended aging. Having patiently been given an additional seven years on the lees, it offers exceptional richness and refinement. “As the lees break down, they unlock this complexity and magic in the wine, with these gorgeous textural elements, and more savory characteristics.”
While Argyle’s Extended Tirage Brut and Vintage Brut are very different in their final form, they share the same winemaking DNA. “Years from now, the portion of our 2015 Argyle Vintage Brut that we held back for extended aging will become our Extended Tirage Brut—and it will be a very different wine. Now, in its youth, it has beautiful freshness and vibrancy, with lovely pure fruit underscored by bright acid and a mineral edge.” As older sparkling wines age at Argyle, the sparkling program doesn’t stand still. The 2015 Vintage Brut includes grapes from Argyle’s cool, high-elevation Spirit Hill Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, which was planted in 2008. “We planted Spirit Hill, which includes Pinot Meunier, specifically to enhance our sparkling program,” says Nate. “I love the way the Meunier acts as a bridge between the Pinot and the Chardonnay in the 2015 Brut—it brings a real harmony to the wine.”
For the ultimate wine experience, Argyle’s Master of Sparkling Class and Legacy Tasting set the benchmark for wine country hospitality. The Masters of Sparkling class takes guests behind the winemaking curtain with a hand-disgorging demonstration and the opportunity to participate in a dosage trial before touring Argyle’s famed Tirage Library which boasts vintages dating back to 1987. The Legacy Tasting showcases the ageworthiness of Argyle’s wines with a carefully curated collection of rare library wines that changes seasonally.
2008 ARGYLE EXTENDED TIRAGE BRUT.
Grilled plum, red cherry, honey, and orange rind are layered with the mature complexity of brioche and roast nuts, bringing harmony to a graceful and elegant finish. Aged 10 years on the lees.
691 Hwy 99W, Dundee OR 97115
Argylewinery.com (503) 538-8520