When Argyle Winery was founded two decades ago, it put Oregon on the map for sparkling wines. Still today, many wine drinkers would say that bubbly wine is precisely what Argyle is about--and understandably, because Argyle Brut (and the winery's limited production sparkling wines available mainly locally) are excellent wines. But actually the Argyle still wines are every bit as fine as the
sparkling wine, and in fact dominate the winery's production. Directed by winemaker Rollin Soles, the modern winery operations are housed in a former hazelnut processing plant in the small Willamette Valley community of Dundee.
Argyle's parent company, The Dundee Wine Company, manages 250 acres of prime Oregon vineyards under the supervision of viticulturist Allen Holstein. The emphasis is on low yield premium grapes hand picked into small baskets to preserve fruit quality.
About 80% of Argyle's approximate annual total of 45,000 cases is non-sparkling wine, and 75% of that is Pinot Noir. Argyle winemaker and founder, Rollin Soles, produced the winery's first Pinot Noir in 1992. In addition to a basic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir bottling, the winery generally makes three special Pinot Noirs: a Reserve, the single-vineyard Spirithouse Pinot Noir, and Nuthouse Pinot Noir, a selection of the ripest, 'blackest' fruit of the year. Despite the ripeness and richness of the Nuthouse Pinot, Argyle's Pinot Noirs hold to a nuanced and silky style rather than being powerful. They are seductive rather than commanding.
Nuthouse Pinot Noir
Nuthouse Pinot Noir is bottle-aged in Argyle's cellars for one year. The aromas develop a mixed pouch of delicious spice to go with the super concentrated wild blackberry and blueberry jam scents. The 2003 Nuthouse Pinot Noir's finish is textured, spicy and full of air-dried black berry flavor. Hailing from Argyle's prized Lone Star vineyard, this is not a typical shy, pretty sort of Pinot Noir! Both the 2002 and 2003 Nuthouse Pinot Noirs received 93 points and a "Highly Recommended" rating from Wine Spectator! The 2004, planned for April 2007 release, is expected to be as good as its predecessor.
Argyle Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Nuthouse 2003
Polished and rich in texture, a bit hot but expanding beautifully to show off its ripe cherry and blackberry and faint notes of earth and shiso that linger along with the fruit, wrapped in a light veil of toasty oak
Rated 93 Wine Spectator