Ring in the New Year with American Bubbles
by Clive Pursehouse
American sparkling wine has long been available but the quality is certainly on the rise, and if you’re ringing in the New Year here in the States, why not toast the future with a homegrown wine?
Champagne producers have long made a home in California, but the fact is that the climates could not really be much mored different. Producers like Mumm, Moet and Roederer have a long history of producing quality California sparkling wine, but often it is at price-points that make it a difficult choice over cheaper Cava or Prosecco. American sparkling wine though in the last few years has seen an infusion of value priced options, often coming from larger producers, as well as smaller producers committed to quality production beyond the usual suspects.
As you raise your glasses to toast the end of what has been a pretty interesting year by any standard, you have a bevy of options to choose from.
The most famous name in Oregon sparkling wine is the Willamette Valley’s Argyle. While the Willamette is known for it’s impressive Pinot Noir, Argyle has long been the champion of the Valley’s sparkling wines, making a range of grape options at a variety of price points. Their Vintage Brut is year in and year out a consistent bell ringer when it comes to quality bubbly at under the $30 pricepoint. The last few years Argyle has partnered with the Pacific Northwest College of Art to offer scholarships and highlight those winning students in a limited edition labelling. The three bottle gift set of limited edition labels is available at just a bit more than the standard bottle price.
2014 Argyle Vintage Brut, Willamette Valley, Oregon $25
A rich and generous sparkling wine from another warm Willamette vintage. Aromas are of baked bread, hazelnut and hints of red berry. The palate is generous with ample bubbles accenting flavors of fig, pear and a hint of minerality. The traditional champagne production method offers ample texture and mouth fill complimented by the Willamette Valley’s signature acidity.