• It was getting late, probably around 10:30pm when a friend of mine asked if I was going to the Chill tasting. Caught off guard I said “when?” Now till 1:30am was his response. I’d been to a few in the past, and they tend to be a hipper crowd with a DJ, food and great wine. So naturally I said yes.

    Upon arriving at RN74 (A wine bar/restaurant) where the event was held I was greeted by dim lights, corks popping and thinly sliced cured meat. Usually a few different wine labels are featured but this night belonged solely to Argyle.

    Argyle is a wine producer located in Willamette Valley, Oregon. The AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Willamette has six sub AVAs—Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton District and Chehalem Mountains. A region known predominately for their Pinot Noir, the Willamette Valley is 150 miles long and up to 60 miles wide making it Oregon’s largest AVA. It runs from the Columbia River in Portland south through Salem to the Calapooya Mountains.

    In my opinion nearly all Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs have at least an undertone of wild blackberry jam that helps distinguish them from other Pinots. The consistently cool temperatures that the valley gets from the coastal breezes and mountain trapping fog make this one of the best places in the world to grow the finicky grape.

    Argyle has four vineyards used in the making of their wines. Two are located in Dundee Hills and the other two are in Eola-Amity Hills. I tasted nearly everything they produce including but not limited to Riesling, Chardonnay, Sparkling and several Pinot Noirs.

    All the Pinot Noirs are exceptional, but the Nuthouse has been a favorite of mine for years. Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast both gave it a score of 100 points. I thought I’d include the wine maker’s notes because he put it so well..

    “The aromas jump out of the glass with bright vibrancy. Rich Bing cherry fruit, Santa Rosa plum, pie spices, cinnamon stick, with bouquet of forest loam and woods-edge Northwest bramble fruits make this a very seductive Pinot Noir. The mouth-feel is surprisingly silky and concentrated in texture. The middle palate has delightful juiciness of Bing cherry and red plum fruit. From middle to its long finish this wine is complexed by presence of spices reminiscent of bergamot and citrus oil, with a hint of the sort of herb component that evolves into floral aromas with age.”

    I also loved the Riesling which retained a bright acidity that balanced the sweetness the overly fruity wine exhibited. Tropical and Floral on the nose and palate it is definitely a New World wine, but holds it’s own against any Riesling in this price category.

    A fun tasting with some dynamite wines. I highly recommend you pick up one of their Pinots when you have some spare dough (not the bread making kind.)

    – Jonathan Hood