Conducere [latin]: to lead, draw or bring together. At Argyle, our history is alive in our wines. Argyle Conducere is a toast to the house where our wines have been made since 1987, and a call to community to make this place a house of your own. Here's to our house and all those who have contributed to bringing our history to life.
In a cool late year like 2011, we decided to throw the book at Mother Nature and experiment with something new. Break all the rules. The Conducere was born of late-ripening, low-elevation Stoller Vineyard Chardonnay, and high elevation Knudsen Vineyard Chardonnay. While only picked 4 days apart, each Chardonnay brings unique textural component to the wine. Stoller, picked on the 25th of October, brings richness and creamy power, while the Knudsen, picked the 29th of October, lays down a firm backbone to carry the fleshy Stoller base. In addition to being picked a bit riper, the Stoller was put completely through malolactic fermentation, which further enhances the creamy center, while the Knudsen was kept lean and mean to help focus the rich core of the Conducere.
By shifting with Mother Nature, we have turned what would have been a bony, lean still wine Chardonnay into our most opulent style of Blanc de Blancs. Fruit forward, showing hints of nectarine and lychee. Subtle acidity balances with slate minerality and backed with lightly toasted pistachio and honeydew melon. Throw in the clear glass and zero dosage, and you will likely never see a Sparkling Wine like this again here at Argyle. Get it while you can!
One singular varietal grown on one solitary block from one single vineyard in one sparkling vintage. Argyle Blanc de Blancs makes a singualr statement for American grower sparkling wine.
We thought 2010 was a late growing season... in 2011 we picked Julia Lee's Block a full 10 days later than 2010 on October 28th! At 900 ft. elevation, needless to say, we had plenty of acid in 2011. As such, we had to carefully tease out more texture and depth in a year like this. Complete barrel fermentation and full lees aging was a must, as well as an increased amount of malolactic fermentation - 25% to be precise. Going into the bottle, I still remember it being a racy little devil, but time on yeast has always had the last laugh. After popping our first bottle for the dosage trial, we were blown away at the depth and length it had developed on the lees. This is serious Blanc de Blancs. Allspice, Marcona almond, and fleshy pear meld with a rich, creamy core all persisting against wet, mineral length.
At the top of Knudsen Vineyards, at 950 feet of elevation, is where you'll find our 2.5 acre planting of Pinot Meunier. We take advantage of the late ripening spot to retain bright, fresh acidity and mineral edge. This year's blend is 25% Pinot Meunier, 70% Pinot Noir, and 5% Chardonnay. Its color is bright, pale salmon pink, while its bouquet is full of rose petal, anise, and pink peppercorn. The barrel aging of the red wine component contributes to its savory complexity, while its delicate, creamy bead leads to a long textural finish only enhanced by food... salt-cod fritters and smoked piquillo aioli.
Black Brut represents Argyle-at-play: a lighthearted take made of 100% high-elevation Willamette Valley fruit, with the simple mission to refresh, to celebrate, and to toast the "magic hour."
In a cool, late year like 2011, Pinot Noir from the high elevations were not quite powerful enough for proper still wine. After much debate and deliberation, we rode Mother Nature's wave and decided to sparkle some of our best Knudsen Vineyard still wine Pinot Noir to make this year's 2011 Black Brut. Bringing tightly wound, yet focused acidity from the elevated hillside, the 2011 Black Brut is cool and elegant, while being both delicately red and black cherry. Weaving within the fruit and subtle baking spice, the bead is direct, leading to a supple, long finish.
The balance and integrity of the 2010 growing season is striking, especially when viewed through the prism of our 2010 Vintage Brut. Lemon peel, strawberry pith, fresh ciabatta dough. The center is downreaching and creamy. In the background, a faint, brine accent persists, remnant of freshly shucked Kumumoto oysters. Energetic acidity and length, there is a satisfying resolution about this cuvée, inspiring one to reach for another glass of the fizz!