Jan 20, 2014

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Best Case Scenario: Argyle 2011 Riesling

BCS Riesling photoLast year’s inaugural Best Case Scenario case of wines included twelve gorgeous Pinot Noirs from different wineries throughout Oregon.  Each Pinot Noir was sampled and reviewed, including information on each of the wineries, quotes from the winemakers, winemaking philosophies and, of course, the quintessential wine-geek information.

Best Case Scenario is the collaboration of Portland’s PR company, Watershed Communications, and participating wineries around my beautiful home-state of Oregon.  A case of wine with a common theme is sent to me twice a year.  The theme of the first case of Best Case Scenario wines was, From Blockbuster to Beauty: The Evolving Style of Oregon Pinot Noir.  With the arrival of the second case of Best Case Scenario wines (all Rieslings) the theme is, Oregon Riesling: Our Best Kept Secret.  This mixed case of Oregon Rieslings was put together to illustrate this varietals elegance in translating Oregon’s beautifully diverse and unique terroir.  Recommended that the wines be tasted from dry to sweet, as the order has been laid out on the International Riesling Foundation sweetness scale, the first and driest of the twelve Oregon Rieslings comes from Argyle Winery.

Argyle Winery is located in Dundee, Oregon, the heart of the famed Willamette Valley AVA.  Since 1987, Argyle’s been producing world-class sparkling and still wines, which have been recognized in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World for their red, white and sparkling wines – no other American winery has been recognized in all three categories.

The 2011 Argyle Riesling has alluring aromas and flavors of stone fruit, pineapple and lemon zest.  On the palate, round and lush fruity flavors are highlighted by zippy acidity and a beautifully balanced finish.  Crisp, refreshing, elegant and captivating.  Argyle’s winemaker, Nate Klostermann, shares information on the ’11 Riesling along with his thoughts on Rieslings from Oregon.

BCS IRF chart for RieslingsTell us about this wine: Seven acres planted with the same expensive techniques as our best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blocks. May be the New World’s only Riesling vineyard planted to high density, de-vigorating rootstocks. Fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak barrel. Aged on lees 9 months. No stirring, no malo.

What is your stylistic objective with this Riesling and how do you achieve it?  Purity of fruit, balance of palate weight and acidity, elegance, ageability.  Achieved through low yields; delicate pressing; cool, controlled fermentations; extended lees ageing.

Why do you make Riesling?  It is among the most age-worthy wines in the world. Endless techniques and styles to experiment with.

What makes Oregon a great place to grow Riesling?  Long, cool growing seasons which promote beautiful aromatics and flavor at low fruit sugars, while retaining ample natural acidity.

Is there an Oregon style of Riesling?  What is it?  Slowly developing an Oregon style of Riesling.  Floral/Stone fruits/Spice.  Delicate, balanced mid-palates, great acidity.

Provide an example of an “unusual” Riesling pairing that you love:  Chicharrónes (crispy, fried pork skin).

BCS Argyle Riesling 2011What other styles of Riesling do you make?  We aim to find different balancing points between richness and acidity in Riesling.  We do another style where we stop the ferment in the 7-8% alcohol and 5-6% RS range. We do a dessert wine Riesling. We also have plans for a bone-dry barrel fermented Riesling.

How long will this wine age?  20+ years.

For the wine geeks, like me:

AVA: Eola-Amity Hills
Number of cases produced: 1070
Retail Price $18.00
Alcohol: 11.5%
pH: 3.16
Acidity: 7.8 g/L
Residual sugar 1.30%
Sustainability practices and/or certification: Oregon Certified Sustainable, LIVE Certified

US Markets/Distributors: AL, AR, KS, IA, AZ, CA, DE, FL, HI, IL, KY, NM, NV, PA, CT, GA, ID, IN, LA, MA, MD, DC, ME, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WY, WI, WV.




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