Wine Down Eugene

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Wine Down Eugene November 27-December 3

I made an appearance yesterday on KPNW News Radio’s Wake Up Call with Robb Holloway and Bill Lundun, and it was all about Thanksgiving-centric wine and beer.  This wasn’t the first time Bill, Robb and I have discussed my favorite beverage on the air, and as always, it was a ton of fun.

We were joined by Aaron, the beer steward for Eugene’s premier brew pub and bottle shop, Bier Stein, who brought in Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale from England as his choice ale for the big feast.  Malt forward with just a touch of earthy hops and notes of hazelnut and cocoa, Aaron suggested pairing the Nut Brown Ale with sweet potatoes and pecan pie; as well as, many of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  The Bier Stein’s an iconic beer pub in Eugene that has 24 beers on tap up front, six on tap in the back, and about a thousand bottles including ciders in their immensely extensive cooler.  It’s not hard to grasp why the Bier Stein recently won Best Beer Bar in the Pacific from craftbeer.com.

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The gorgeous copper-salmon hue of Argyle’s 2010 Brut Rosé | Photo by Julia Crowley

Because of their excellent depth of character and vibrant, lively acidity, my top pick wine for Thanksgiving this year is Sparkling Brut Rosé.  The depth, character and acidity of Brut Rosés make it a super food-friendly wine that I wholeheartedly believe will pair beautifully with just about any food.  And they’re simply gorgeous in the glass – the coppery salmon hue comes from the winemaker either choosing to have minimal contact with the grape skins or choosing to blend in a small amount of red wine into the white wine.

Living in the heart of the Willamette Valley, where the three main varietals used for the production of sparkling wines thrive (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier), it’s not surprising at all that the great state of Oregon has some stunning sparkling Brut Rosés.

My two favorite Oregon Brut Rosés are Argyle Winery’s 2010 Brut Rosé and Domaine Meriwether’s vintage 2000 Prestige Cuvée Brut Rosé. 

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Photo by Julia Crowley

Located in Dundee, Oregon, Argyle has been producing world-class methode champenoise sparkling wine since 1987; as well as, still wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling.  Argyle’s 2010 Brut Rosé is 70 percent Pinot Noir and 30 percent Pinot Meunier.  In the glass (I always sip my bubbly from a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass- never a flute), thousands of tiny bubbles travel north from the eye-catching coppery salmon color.  Aromas and flavors of wild strawberries, red cherries, roses and a hint of ginger flow seamlessly along the palate in creamy, lush and vibrant waves.  Lovely acidity rounds out the fruit to bring on an elegantly balanced sparkling wine – truly a palate pleasing, delicious Brut Rosé that will pair perfectly with anything that’s being served on Thanksgiving.

Domaine Meriwether is located in Veneta, Oregon, right off of Highway 126 on a beautiful property that looks out over the vineyards and the foothills of the Coastal Range.  Like Argyle, they’ve got a reputation for producing world-class methode chempenoise sparkling wine.  The vintage 2000 Prestige Cuvée Brut Rosé is 85 percent Pinot Noir and 15 percent Chardonnay, and displays that stunning color I love so much.  Fresh cherry and strawberry aromas are highlighted by citrus and a hint of sugar cookie.  On the palate, the mouthfeel is rich, silky and lively with tart cherry flavors and a lightly spicy, elegant finish that leaves the palate refreshed and wanting more.

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I was just out at Domaine Meriwether for their wine club party a few days ago, and new owners Lorrie and Eric Normann discovered a stash of library wines that they now have on sale through Thanksgiving weekend.  Sort of like striking gold, their lucky find includes Meriwether Pinot Noirs from 2002 to 2006, 2005 Pinot Gris’ and Chardonnay, Magnums of the 1999 Captain Clark Brut Cuvée, the divine 2000 Prestige Cuvée Brut Rosé and more.

I participated in a vertical tasting of the 2002 to 2006 Pinot Noirs, and I highly recommend the 2002, 2005 and 2006 – they were all outstanding!  Don’t miss the chance to add a bottle or two to your own wine cellar.  Visit Domaine Meriwether at 88324 Vienayrd Lane, Veneta, OR 97487.  They are open daily from 11 am – 5 pm and Fridays from 11 am – 9 pm.

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Strike some gold at Meriwether through Thanksgiving weekend | Photo by Julia Crowley

Julia has been in the wine industry for nearly 20 years. First through creating European wine tours, then opening her own wine bar, Julia loves writing about food & wine on her website, WineJulia.com.

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