Better Wines at Better Prices Due to a Global Glut
by John Mariani
“One result of the past year is that wineries worldwide have to sell their wines at bargain prices, not least because most restaurants were not re-stocking during the pandemic and warehouses must be emptied. I have also seen more variety than ever before, and newcomers to the market—some of whom used to overprice their wines to appear to be in short supply—just want their foot in the door of the American wine shops. Allocation of ‘scarce’ bottlings has pretty much disappeared, and the Chinese market for big Bordeaux and Burgundy went soft as well. Here, then, are some wines coming in right now that offer excellent quality at moderate prices.
2017 Argyle Vintage Brut
As a pioneer of sparkling wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Argyle has mastered the form and kept sensible pricing. Of its 2017 Brut (its 31st vintage) winemaker Nate Klostermann contends, ‘We are not a large production winery and our vintage Brut follows the grower champagne model more than the big sparkling house approach. It comes from two of our vineyards, both of which are sections farmed specifically to make sparkling wine.’ It was a year of fine weather with 70% of the fruit from cooler vineyards, while the rest was from warmer ones that give it body. The blend is 55% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier. Drink it straight through a seafood-based meal.”