Oregon's Argyle winery has decided not to market a reserve Pinot Noir from the 1997 vintage. Although the winery produced 900 cases from its reserve-designated vineyard sites, those bottles will be labeled as Argyle's regular Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
"I think this was one of the best Pinots of the '97 vintage," said Argyle president and winemaker Rollin Soles. "But '97 was very difficult, what with us getting 6 3/4 inches of rain during harvest. It's a quality statement that Argyle won't sell reserve wines that aren't reserve-scale."
Argyle sent samples of its 1997 reserve bottling, originally priced at $35, to Wine Spectator before changing its mind about the label. In a blind tasting, editor-at-large Harvey Steiman gave the wine a score of 86 points on the magazine's 100-point scale. His tasting note read: "Light and bright, with pretty berry and plum flavors on a delicate frame. Has a bit more style than many 1997 Pinots."
Argyle released its regular 1997 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (84 points, $15) early last year, before making the decision to change the label on its reserve wine. The winery produced 5,480 cases of the original bottling, which was described in its Wine Spectator tasting note as "Light, almost fragile, with modest levels of pretty currant and cherry on a soft bed of tannins."
Founded in 1987, Argyle produces around 30,000 cases each year of sparkling wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from 170 acres of estate-owned vines and about 40 acres of purchased grapes.
Difficulties in 1997 were not limited to Pinot Noir, said Soles. The winery produced only 2,330 cases of its reserve Chardonnay, about 40 percent less than usual. "Some Chard picked before the rains was reserve-quality; grapes picked after the rains were not," explained Soles.
Check out recent ratings of Argyle wines.
Learn more about Oregon's 1997 vintage:
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