Willamette Valley Day Two

We started off our second day by taking a little walk in Dundee. The Inn at Red Hills is only a short distance from Argyle Winery, so we took a little walk down to the winery. We have tasted at Argyle in the past, but had not tasted the sparkling wines for which they are well known.

I had the bubbly flight and Pete had one bubbly and the rest were still wines. Here is what we thought of the wines.

2007 Argyle Brut – There was a nice yeasty nose and that carried over in the flavor. There was also some red apple. This was a nice crisp wine with a clean finish. Pete isn’t wild about sparkling wines but said this was pretty good.

2007 Nuthouse Chardonnay – It was a light yellow color with a forward nose of grapefruit and mineral. This Chardonnay saw 31% new oak and they did a very good job not to over oak it. The flavor was grapefruit and mineral with a hint of vanilla. Pete made the comment that this tastes like a Chardonnay should.

2008 Reserve Pinot Noir – A blend of grapes from three vineyards, the color was light red. As the winery describes it “a classic Oregon Pinot Noir”. Pete agreed with that and said there were cherries and smoke with light tannins.

2008 Nuthouse Pinot Noir – While the wine had a light color there were darker fruit in the nose. The flavor was bigger and more complex with dark cherries and a little mocha. A little more tannin than the Reserve and good acid with a medium length finish.

2008 Minus Five – A late harvest Riesling with a deep yellow color. Typical Riesling nose of diesel or petroleum. While it was definitely a Riesling in nose and flavor it was otherwise an unremarkable sweet wine. There was a good amount of acid, however, which gave it a nice clean finish.

2006 Blanc de Blanc – This wine is 100% Dijon clone Chardonnay. The nose was minimal with flavors of green apple with a bit of sweetness. The bubbles were small and the finish was clean. Very enjoyable.

2007 Knudsen Vineyard Brut – This wine is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. The nose was slightly yeasty with flavors of apples and yeast with a bit more sweetness than the Blanc de Blanc.

2000 Extended Tirage – The Extended Tirage spends 10 years on the yeast and is 54% Chardonnay and 46 % Pinot Noir. The nose and flavors of this wine are quite distinct and are dominated by a pleasant mustiness with complex flavors of apples. I really do mean complex. This is the most complex tasting sparkling wine I have tasted. The bubbles were fine and the finish was clean. A great celebratory wine!

From my point of view all of the sparkling wines were clean and crisp with varying amounts of sweetness. The Extended Tirage stands out from the rest and is worth experiencing. It is different than any sparkling wine or Champagne I have tasted.

With our wine purchase tucked into a convenient shopping bag, we hiked back to the Inn.

Our plan for the afternoon included a drive to the Carlton area. We took 99W to Highway 47 and ended up in Carlton right at the Scott Paul tasting room. The drive was beautiful, going through green farmland, by dairies and orchards. Many apple trees are in bloom and the hazel nut trees are just leafing out. Carlton is another cute, small town in the region with a history dating back to the early 1800s. The former train depot has been transformed into a tasting room and Main Street has several restaurants.

Our mission was to taste wines at Scott Paul Winery. In addition to making Pinot Noir, the wine maker also imports Burgundy and Champagne. We thought that combination was too interesting to pass up. In addition the winery was releasing their 2009 Audrey Pinot Noir on Saturday.

The winery was pouring four Burgundies (one sparkling wine and three reds) as well as two Pinot Noir. We started with the Burgundies which were being poured by Scott Paul.

Cremant de Bourgogne – Huber-Verdereau. This 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine is from Thiebault Huber’s 1.4 acre parcel near the village of Volnay. The nose was minimal and yeasty. Flavors were clean, crisp and metallic-very French. The bubbles were very fine and the finish was long.

2008 Cote de Nuits Villages, les Vignottes – Domaine JJ Confuron. This Pinot is from the estate’s 3.1 acre parcel just outside Nuits-St. Georges in the village of Premeaux-Prissey. The nose was obvious and smelled like tobacco and rubber tire. Strong flavors of tobacco and red fruit followed with moderate tannins and a long finish. The mouth feel was light.

2008 Chambolle-Musigny – Domaine JJ Confuron. The grapes for this wine come from a 1.15 acre parcel near the Burgundy village of Chambolle-Musigny. The nose was a pleasant combination of perfume and smoke. Bright fruit and smoke combined in the flavors with moderate tannins and good acid. This wine had more complex fruit flavors that the Villages wine and the finish was very long with tannins and flavor. Very nice!

2008 Clos Vougeot – Domaine JJ Confuron. The grapes originate from a 1.23 acre parcel in the premier area of Clos Vougeot. Only 36 bottles of the Grand Cru were imported. It was amazing that this wine was being poured at $139 per bottle! The wine was more restrained than the previous Burgundies, but very complex. Smoke and floral scents and flavors were present with good acid and moderate tannins. The finish was very long.

We then proceeded to taste the two Scott Paul wines being offered.

2008 La Paulee Pinot Noir – This wine is a blend of three vineyards. The color was light ruby with a bit of blue-quite young-looking. The nose was minimal, but slightly fruity. Flavors tasted of tart fruit and berries with moderate tannins and good acid. The style was more restrained than the Argyle Nut House we tasted earlier in the day, but the price makes is very attractive ($32) and it is a pleasant drinking wine.

2009 Audrey Pinot Noir – The grapes come from the dry-farmed old-vines of the Maresh Vineyard. This wine had a big fruit nose with big fruit, bramble, smoke and spice flavors. These big flavors were accompanied by moderate tannins and good acid. The finish was long. This is a rich ripe tasting wine, but at $65, we felt it was more than we cared to pay. Just our humble opinions.

We certainly recommend you stop at Scott Paul if you are in the area. It is great to be able to taste some good Burgundy along with excellent Oregon Pinot Noir and compare them.

After we finished with Scott Paul we walked down Carlton’s Main Street to the Horse Radish restaurant for lunch. We had the best grilled cheese sandwich – Gruyere cheese on focaccia bread with ham and a balsamic-fig spread. Yum.

We intended to taste at Adelsheim Vineyard to sample their white wines, but the time got away from us and the tasting room was closed by the time we got there. Oh well, we had a lovely drive though the countryside. More dairies, rolling hillsides planted in wheat and lovely hazel nut orchards.

We tasted at a leisurely pace Saturday and enjoyed the wines very much. We returned to our room early enough to read and relax before dinner at Red Hills Provincial Dining in Dundee. During a previous visit to the Willamette Valley we had eaten dinner here and enjoyed it very much. We both ordered the Wild Mushroom Pasta – it was prepared with an assortment of wild mushrooms, rum and cream with very wide pasta. It was so tasty. I am embarrassed to say I almost cleaned my plate! We drank a 2007 Roads End Oregon Pinot Noir which paired nicely with the rich mushroom and cream sauce. The restaurant very kindly re-corked and bagged the remainder of the wine for us so we could take it with us. The Inn provided us with Pinot glasses to take to our room. We finished the bottle while watching a couple of episodes of Deadwood on HBO. Pete downloaded the new HBO app on the iPad which made for excellent viewing.

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