Oregon is known for its award-winning Pinot Noir, but its success with sparkling wine might very well change the conversation. The numbers speak volumes (as sparkling wine sales from the state grew more than 50% in Nielsen-tracked channels in 2018) but there are, of course, far more impressive and interesting factors at play here. Andrew Davis, owner of Oregon’s Radiant Sparkling Wine Company (a company that provides specialized equipment and technical knowledge to sparkling producers) notes that there are a number of producers on the cusp of releasing their first sparkling vintages. Last year his company helped 36 wineries produce méthode champenoise sparkling, which amounted to roughly 25,000 cases for the 2018 vintage. Indeed, the state’s climate is ideally suited for the cultivation of traditional Champagne varietals (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), and Oregon’s sunny hillsides yield sparkling wines rich with complexity, structure and elegance.
Montinore Vivace NV
Made entirely from organic and biodynamic grapes, this playful sparkling wine ($24) is composed of an intriguing blend of non-traditional (in the Champagne sense) grapes—Gewürztraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Together, these varietals deliver a sparkling wine that brims with orange rind, ginger, ripe apples and lemon cream. Very low dosage means it drinks with a nice dry edge.
Argyle Brut Rose, 2014
Winemaker Nate Klosterman brings together fruit from two distinct higher elevation vineyards—the Dundee Hills (which lend it a nice elegance) and Eola-Amity Hills (which impart a mineral edge)—for this 2014 vintage ($39). Rose petal, dried strawberry and pink pepper notes offer up an elegant flavor.
Pashey Estates Cuvée, 2015
Crafted in very small lots with exceptional estate fruit, hand-picked and then cave aged, Pashey Estate’s sparkling wines are thoughtfully produced. Our pick, the Cuvée ($65) is made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It shows a bright and lively palate with effervescent pearly beads and deeply aromatic notes of lemon curd and pink lady apple.
RMS Brut Rosé, 2016
This is an exciting bottling because it is the first rosé release from winemaker Rollin Soles—one of the masters of sparkling in Oregon. The 2016 Brut Rosé ($65) sparkling shows true finesse with pearly threads of bubbles and lifted notes of wild strawberry. The wine is fermented in small French oak barrels which lend it a nice rich texture to compliment the racier citrus notes.
Soter Mineral Springs Rosé, 2014
Ancient marine soils and biodynamic farming lend this captivating méthode champenoise sparkling wine—the brand’s 2014 Mineral Springs Rosé ($65)—an ethereal quality. Lifted notes of wild strawberry, rose petals and a decadent mousse show on the palate, thanks to fruits sourced from their Mineral Springs Ranch in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Images courtesy of respective brands