VOLUME 10, ISSUE 18
September 29, 2015
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:
Willamette Valley’s 50th Anniversary: A New Look at the Old Guard Pinot Briefs
Established in 1987, Argyle farms over 350 acres in both the Dundee Hills and Eola Hills-Amity District AVAs. The co-founders are Texan Rollin Soles and Australian Brian Croser. Rollin Soles earned a Master’s Degree in Enology at University of California Davis in 1978, and worked at Chateau Montelena in the Napa Valley before going to Australia and meeting Croser of Petaluma Winery in the Adelaide Hills. In 1985, Soles moved to Yamhill Valley and laid plans to launch a new winery, backed by Croser. He linked up with viticulturist Allen Holstein In 2000 and together they opened the Argyle Winery in 1987, working out of a former nut processing facility in Dundee.
Sparkling wine was Argyle's signature wine from the beginning, producing 20,000 cases the first year. Cal Knudsen left his partnership with Dick Erath and joined the Argyle team in 1990, contributing his mature, 120-acre vineyard in the Dundee Hills to the business. Argyle's growth was also fueled by Holstein's association with Stoller Vineyard and the 1996 purchase of Eola Hills land for Lone Star Vineyard.
Croser’s Petaluma Winery in Australia purchased Argyle, and then was taken over by drinks giant Lion Nathan in 2001. Soles is still the general manager and winemaker at Argyle.
The winery’s focus is on farming vintage-driven wines from great sites. Over 400 acres of vineyards are currently under the direction of viticulturist Allen Holstein. The three major vineyards are the 120-acre Knudsen Vineyard planted in 1972-1974, the 8-acre Stoller Vineyard planted in 1995, and the 160-acre Lonestar Vineyard located 15 minutes south of Dundee and planted primarily to Dijon clones. 130 plantable acres at the southern end of the Eola-Amity Hills was acquired in 2007.
In most vintages there are four Pinot Noirs produced: Willamette Valley, Reserve, Nuthouse and Spirithouse. Nuthouse is a uniquely styled Pinot Noir (nutty if you will) that is intense and bold. It takes its name from the original winery which was housed in a previous hazelnut processing plant. The primary source of the Nuthouse Pinot Noir is the Lonestar Vineyard. Nuthouse Pinot Noir and Chardonnay was first produced in 1992. Spirithouse is a more subtle and silky style. The name comes from the fact that the current tasting room is housed in the former Dundee City Hall which is said to be inhabited by the ghost of a troubled women (the full story is available on the website). The tasting room is one of the busiest in the state.
A tasting room is located in Dundee, OR at 691 Hwy 99 W. The wines are sold on the website and through numerous retail channels. Soles is a champion of screw caps (the sparkling wines are still closed with cork). 503-538-8520. Annual production is 50,000 cases (60% Pinot Noir, 35% sparkling wine and 5% white wines). Sparkling wine production may eventually top 50,000 cases.
Rollin Soles stepped aside as general manager and winemaker at Argyle to concentrate on his own label, ROCO, the winery he started ten years ago with his wife, Corby Stonebreaker-Soles. Soles will stay on as a winemaking and vineyard consultant. Young Nate Klostermann, Soles' assistant for the past seven years, takes over March 1, 2013.
Articles About Argyle Winery
2011 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans Second Team (8.47 12/20/2011)
Argyle Winery (6.52 1/30/2008)
Dundee Hills (7.7 12/17/2008)
IPNC: Continuing Ed in Pinot Noirvana (6.35 8/6/2007)
Mining for Good Under-$30 Pinot: Inflation Tamers (8.32 3/1/2011)
More 2010 Oregon Pinot Noirs (9.11 9/11/2012)
Noiregon: First Look at 09s and Late Release 08s (8.35 4/11/2011)
Oregon Pinot Noir 2004 (6.15 2/12/2007)
Pinot Briefs (10.8 4/20/2015)
Pinot Briefs (10.6 3/15/2015)
2010 Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $17.50, screw cap. “Double macerated” - once before fermentation and again after fermentation. · Light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, cherries and herbal oak. Soft in the mouth with lighter weight flavors of red cherries and berries and a dusting of oak. An easy drinker with no special message. Decent. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Argyle Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 7,000 cases, $30, screw cap. Winemaker is Rollin Soles. · Moderate color intensity. Appealing aromas of cherries, cola, rose petals and underbrush. Elegant and soft in the mouth, offering discreet flavors of cherries and berries which carry through on the somewhat lengthy finish. A refreshing wine that holds the oak in check and shows some increasing intensity over time in the glass. Good (+). Reviewed March 2, 2011 ARTICLE »
2008 Argyle Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 700 cases, $30, screw cap. The best vineyard blocks from Argyle-farmed properties. · Attractive aromas of black cherries, grilled mushrooms, and forest floor. Moderately intense core of dark red berries nicely framed by a hint of oak and a healthy tannin backbone. Closed upon opening, but gradually coming to life over time in the glass with more fruit intensity and spice coming to the forefront. Even better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine should definitely be aged in the cellar and has the balance to succeed. Reviewed April 11, 2011 ARTICLE »
2008 Argyle Nuthouse Reserve Series Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 3,200 cases, $42, screw cap. Named for the old hazelnut drying facility or nuthouse which is now the Argyle winery. Composed of carefully chosen vineyard blocks with pedigree. · The nose is reserved, offering delicate aromas of dark stone fruits and berries with complimentary oak. Vivid and intense red and black berry compote on the palate including a striking attack of black raspberry fruit on entry that lingers on the finish. Well-rounded, smoothly textured, with a lively acid underbelly. More approachable than the 2008 Argyle Reserve, but will also benefit from cellaring. Impressive! Reviewed April 11, 2011 ARTICLE »
2006 Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 3,156 cases, $25, screw cap. Double-macerated on the skins - once before fermentation cold and then again after fermentation to extract flavor and produce a silky texture. On the label: “To open: Hold cap, then twist bottle.” · Light in color. Tutti-fruiti aromas of red cherry and strawberry and a hint of tropical fruits. Soft in texture, light in weight, featuring simple red fruits. A quaffer that is not meant for contemplation. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Argyle Spirithouse Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 1,360 cases, $85. This bottling from the Knudsen Vineyard in the Dundee Hills is Argyle’s top-of-the-line Pinot Noir. The winemaker is Rollin Soles. · Great core of dusty cherry fruit with notes of spice and roses and the right touch of acidity on the tangy finish. Plenty of structure to last. The silky texture is memorable. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Argyle Winery Spirithouse Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Argyle dates back to 1987 and now farms over 350 acres of vineyards in the Dundee hills and Eola Hills-Amity District AVAs. The focus of winemaker and owner Rollin Soles is on farming vintage-driven wines from great sites. Argyle is one of the few wineries still making sparkling wine in Oregon. · A ‘spirited’ wine with a memorable finish of ripe strawberries and raspberries. Just plain terrific. Reviewed August 6, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Argyle Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $35, 4,900 cases, screw cap. From 8 of the best vineyard blocks. · Hi-toned and bright black cherry and Xmas spice scents. Yummy cherry flavors with a little citrus tang. Velvety and rich in texture with cleansing acid on the finish. A little more hedonistic than the Nuthouse. Not terribly complex, but drinks beautifully. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »
2004 Argyle Reserve Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 3156 cases, $29, screw cap. This Pinot Noir is produced entirely from estate fruit and is sourced from nine of the best vineyard blocks. Rollin Soles is the winemaker. · A Pinot that is very true to the Pinot Noir ideal, it is light in color, gentle, perfumed and ethereal in style. The nose has delicate cherry and floral notes. Spry red fruits, Asian spices, and dark chocolate highlight the complex flavors and the wine closes with bright acidity. The whole package is beautifully balanced. Not a blockbuster, just the right stuff. Reviewed February 12, 2007 ARTICLE »
2004 Argyle Nuthouse Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $45, screw cap. Primarily sourced from the Lonestar Vineyard. · Cherry driven on the nose and echoed in the flavors with a subtle oak and cranberry sidecar. A lighter style with silky tannins that is pretty good but a bit austere. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »
2004 Argyle Spirithouse Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 1,810 cases, $65, screw cap. Sourced from the Knudsen Vineyard. · Cherry and herbs aromas up front with farmyard in the background. Flavors veer toward dark berries, soy and game. Plenty of fruit but still nicely proportioned and a delight to drink. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »
1999 Argyle Knudsen Vineyards Brut Willamette Valley Sparkling Wine
$35. 70% Pinot Noir. · More creamy than the above wine with brisk acidity and a touch of minerality. Excellent Reviewed August 6, 2007 ARTICLE »
1997 Argyle Extended Tirage Willamette Valley Sparkling Wine
Both this and the 1999 are from Knudsen Vineyards. 80% Pinot Noir. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are barrel fermented. · Crisp and lively with a hint of apple and plum. Reviewed August 6, 2007 ARTICLE »
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