Argyle 2014 Knudsen Vineyard Brut

As much as I love whiskey, it’s usually wine Wednesdays at my house. It’s been awhile since I’ve had some champagne, so I figured why not? I decided on a Brut from Argyle Winery. Here in Oregon, Argyle Winery is known for their champagnes. They were founded in 1987 by Rollin Soles as he wanted to capture the unique terroir of the Willamette Valley in a sparkling wine. Argyle sources their grapes from the Dundee Hills AVA and Eola-Amity Hills AVA. This Brut is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes and aged in 100% neutral oak barrels.

The nose has a prominent apple aroma, and some mild acidity. My first few sips were tart, with some mild sweetness and not overly dry. Every addition sip had a well balanced tartness, low acid, and very mild tannins. There is apple and pear notes on the palate, along with prominent fruit aromas throughout. The carbonation is very well balanced, not overwhelming like some champagnes.

Overall, this Burt is a very drinkable champagne for everyone from beginners learning their palate to connoisseurs of fine wine. It averages $50 a bottle, and Argyle produced 1450 cases in 2014. I know you’re able to find Argyle wines relatively easy up and down the West Coast, and I’ve seen them in stores such as Safeway/Albertsons, Whole Foods, and Costco. I’d recommend pairing this with apples, pears, and raspberries along with creamy cheeses like Brie. It would also pair well with fish and shellfish, especially lobster.

Cana's Feast 2014 Grenache

Taking a break from bourbon and cigar pairings, I decided to try a red wine pairing instead. Red wines are often under estimated as a good pairing for cigars, and offer a more complex pairing when paired correctly. Living in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I’m spoiled with numerous renowned wineries producing many varieties of wine.

I decided to try a 2014 Grenache from Cana’s Feast out of Carlton, Oregon. They source their Grenache grapes from the Columbia Valley AVA, which is known for producing more fruit forward wines like California, yet keeps some of the balance and structure of European wine. Cana’s only bottled 54 cases in 2014, making this wine a little harder to come by. I paired the Grenache with a Chapo from Traficante Cigar Company. If you haven’t heard of them yet, they’re definitely worth checking out.

After opening the bottle and letting it breathe for 30 minutes or so, the first few sips have a mild fruitiness to them. The draw is good on the first third of the cigar with hints of spice, and the wine compliments the predominant tobacco flavor while the cigar brings out the fruitiness.

During the transition from the first third to the second third, I noticed a slight cocoa flavor from the cigar. The spice is more prominent throughout the second third, and the fruitiness of the wine really shines. The wine’s talc like tannins are starting to be brought out by the cigar.

At the very end of the second third, the wine helps brings out a mild musky tobacco flavor with a pleasant leathery/earthy aroma. The last third of the cigar elevates the wine’s earthiness, while having a very smooth finish.

Overall, the wine has just enough tannins to create a pleasant balance where it doesn’t overpower the taste of the cigar. For $28 a bottle, it’s a good bottle for beginners exploring their palate, or for someone with a more sophisticated palate to enjoy on its own or with a nice cigar.

2008 Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

7 Hills Vineyard Reserve

Walla Walla AVA

There’s nothing like a nice glass of wine after a long work week. I decided to crack a bottle I’ve had aging for a few years, and was I surprised. A little background on the region before I review this awesome wine.

Tamarack Cellars is based out of Walla Walla, Washington. The majority of the Walla Walla AVA is in Southeastern Washington with the remaining third in Eastern Oregon. The AVA is predominantly known for its sweet onions, but also produces some incredible wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most commonly grown grape, followed by Merlot and Syrah. It is one of the warmest wine growing regions in Washington and Oregon, helping to create bigger and bolder reds. The wine itself is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Carmenère.

After letting the wine breathe, the nose was peppery with some acid. On the initial swirl, the wine left strong legs on the glass, and had a dark, deep color.

My first few sips of the wine were dry, had a slight fruitiness that cabs are known for, with hints of cola, and the tannins were incredibly smooth.

The after taste had some pucker from the tannins, and a silky yet mild fruitiness that lingered.

Every additional sip had hints of minerals, and the tannins became even smoother. The legs stayed as strong as they were on my initial swirl of the glass. It turned out to be a very smooth and easily drinkable wine with a mild fruitiness that would pair well with a nice grilled steak or full bodied cigar.

Since the wine is 10 years old, I’m guessing it’s pretty hard to find a bottle unless the winery held on to a few cases for their library. It cost $50 a bottle back in 2008, so if you can find a bottle now, it wouldn’t shock me to see it going for upwards of $80.