2009 Argyle Dundee Hills Brut Rosé
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Argyle's 2009 Brut Rose mingles Pinot Noir with 42% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. Strikingly redolent of a florist's shop in its combination of illusive floral perfume with greenery, as well as intimating the cherry, red raspberry, and almond paste that then lusciously and buoyantly inform the palate, this pushes up to the limit of what Iíd want to experience in sweetness for a wine already so forwardly fruity, but finishes with admirable persistence and at once soothingly and vivaciously. 'Five years ago,' relates Soles, 'is when I (began) put(ting) a lot of Meunier in this cuvee, and thatís when the floral(s) came up.'
Clean and lively with suggestions of cherries to its bright fruit, this one comes with appropriate levels of yeast and minerally austerity in its aromas, and it surprises a bit by showing somewhat easier to access fruit on the palate. Its firm bubbles and palate feel presage a brisk, mid-depth finish, and the wine will work both as a pre-prandial sipper or as a mate to poached salmon in a light, herb-based sauce.
Light, with a creamy feel to the pear and watermelon flavors, finishing with delicacy.
Wine Advocate adds: "Specializing in sparkling wine since its 1987 inception, Argyle has gone from strength to strength in that department under the direction of founding winemaker Rollin Soles (who trained originally as a microbiologist). The program here also incorporates a vast array of (by local standards) relatively high-volume still wines. Already large - and controlling the Knudsen and Stoller Vineyards - Argyle undertook a major expansion in 1996 by purchasing the 160 acre Lone Star Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. 'I never make wine by a recipe,' relates Soles, and with his sparklers that applies not only to their ratios of Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and their dosage; it also applies to the levels of sugar at which fruit is picked, which can vary considerably. These are in any event consistently higher than one would encounter in Champagne, but even though finished alcohol typically centers on 13%, the wines exhibit no lack of levity. Soles gives his still Pinots an extended cold soak; generally inoculates, while trying to let the indigenous yeasts first have some say; extracts via punch-downs; and isnít afraid to allow post-fermentative cap contact if he decides (as he usually does) that a wine will benefit." (08/2012)