Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are arguably the most popular varietals here in Oregon. However, many people might say a close third would be Chardonnay. This varietal is so versatile and can be found in many different styles.
My first experience with Chardonnay was probably similar to many other peoples, the buttery and rich versions that hail from California. Now, it is not fair to say that all Californian Chardonnay’s are of this style or that I don’t appreciate a good glass of this style of wine from time to time. Many of the Chardonnay’s that I’ve encountered from my home here in Oregon are of a different type; the crisp, fruity, cold climate style. This is what I discovered when I picked up a bottle of the 2012 Argyle Chardonnay. This wine was in our frugal budget, and truly representative of the Oregon cold climate style.
(Photo Credit: John Morgan)
Argyle Winery has a long history here in Oregon. Nestled in Dundee, right off of highway 99, this winery produces some incredible varietals. Since 1987, Argyle has been producing high end Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and “Methode Champenoise” style wines. They have many wines that have been rated 90 points and above by Wine Spectator magazine as well! Many of their wines are produced with grapes grown on one of their three vineyards; Knudsen, Lonestar, and Spirit Hill.
To ensure quality they even chill all of the fruit they pick overnight before they crush, to help preserve the fruit flavors. It is always exciting to try a wine that has so much love and care put into it. From the vineyard to the winery, and best of all to my glass.
On an especially crisp January evening, I grabbed my chilled bottle of Argyle Chardonnay from my fridge and screwed off the cap. Yes, they use screw caps versus a traditional cork. Personally, I love when wineries do this. The characteristics of the wine stay just the way they were when they were bottled (due to lack of oxygen contact) and it helps the wine stay longer in the fridge. On the off chance you don’t finish a bottle you can save it for just a tad longer. This Chardonnay poured a beautiful pale yellow, and had aromas of fresh pears. I knew immediately it was steel barrel aged because of the crisp scents it was giving off. First sip had flavors of ripe green apples and hints of white peaches. Overall, this wine was fresh, balanced, and had a mild acidity that would pair with so many things. Seafood, asian food, and anything with a hint of black pepper would be excellent options.
As for the cost, I picked this up on sale at my local market for around $16, but on average it will be about $20. Argyle produces very high quality wines that have been wowing us for years. This is a great winery for go-to delicious varietals for any occasion.They have also just released a 2013 Chardonnay for $20 that has a little bit of oak age added to it. I can’t wait to give it a try. Cheers!