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Willamette Valley Sparkling Wines

willamette valley sparkling wine

Willamette Valley Sparkling Wines

Sparkling wines have been taking off in recent years in the Willamette Valley. The Willamette Valley’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two of the three grapes typically used in making champagne, make it an ideal location to craft and produce some of the best Sparkling Brut in the world.

What is the history of Sparkling Brut in the United States?

Sparkling Brut is a type of sparkling wine that is characterized by its dry, crisp, and refreshing taste. The history of sparkling Brut in the United States can be traced back to the late 19th century when European winemakers immigrated to the country and brought with them their winemaking traditions and techniques.

One of the first wineries to produce sparkling Brut in the United States was Korbel Champagne Cellars, established in 1882 in California. The winery produced sparkling wines using the traditional Méthode Champenoise, a winemaking process that involves secondary fermentation in the bottle to produce bubbles.

Moat et Chandon Champagne Vintage Picture
Bottles during the Riddling Stage Champagne Production. Moat et Chandon

During Prohibition, the production of alcoholic beverages was banned in the United States, causing the wine industry to decline. However, after Prohibition was lifted in 1933, wineries started to revive the production of sparkling Brut and other types of wine.

In the following decades, the demand for sparkling Brut and other sparkling wines grew, and wineries across the country started to produce their own versions of this popular wine style. Today, the United States is home to many wineries that produce high-quality sparkling Brut, using both traditional and modern techniques, and the wine continues to be a popular choice among wine drinkers.

Overall, the history of sparkling Brut in the United States is a story of resilience and innovation, as winemakers adapted to changing times and trends to produce a wine that is now loved by many.

What is the history of Sparkling Brut in the Willamette Valley?

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is a renowned wine region known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as sparkling wines. The history of sparkling Brut in the Willamette Valley dates back to the 1960s when a few pioneering winemakers started experimenting with the production of sparkling wines using traditional Méthode Champenoise techniques.

One of the first wineries to produce sparkling Brut in the Willamette Valley was Argyle Winery, established in 1987. The winery became known for its high-quality sparkling wines, including Brut and Rosé, and helped to establish the Willamette Valley as a leading producer of sparkling wines in the United States.

Chardonnay grapes for Sparkling Brut, Willamette Valley Oregon
Chardonnay grapes. Willamette Valley, Oregon

In the following decades, the demand for sparkling wines in the Willamette Valley continued to grow, and many wineries in the region started producing their own versions of this popular wine style. Today, the Willamette Valley is home to many wineries that produce high-quality sparkling Brut and other sparkling wines, using both traditional and modern techniques, and the wines are highly regarded by wine drinkers and critics alike.

Overall, the history of sparkling Brut in the Willamette Valley is a testament to the region’s commitment to producing high-quality wines, and to the innovation and expertise of the winemakers who have helped to establish the Willamette Valley as a leading wine region.

Who are some of the best producers of sparkling wine in the Willamette Valley?

Here are some of the most famous wineries in the Willamette Valley for sparkling Brut wines:

  1. Argyle Winery: Established in 1987, Argyle is one of the pioneers of sparkling wine production in the Willamette Valley. The winery is known for its high-quality Brut and Rosé sparkling wines.
  2. Soter Vineyards: Soter Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been producing sparkling wines since the 1980s. The winery is known for its elegant Brut sparkling wines made using the traditional Méthode Champenoise.
  3. Winderlea Vineyard and Winery: Winderlea, owned by Donna Morris and Bill Sweat, makes one of our favorite Sparkling wines in the valley. Their Sparkling Brut is usually pretty close to a 50 / 50 split of Chardonnay and Pinot noir. The Pinot is sourced from Crawford Beck in the Eola-Ammity AVA and helps to produce this special, crisp and refreshing wine. Find this bottle by clicking on the image below!

    Winderlea Sparkling Brut
    Winderlea Sparkling Brut
  4. Domaine Divio: Domaine Divio, owned by winemaker Bruno Corneaux, makes some of the finest wines in the valley and has started producing a Sparkling Brut and a Sparkling Brut Rose in recent years. This is sure to become a favorite spot for sparkling wines for years to come.
  5. Elk Cove Vineyards: Elk Cove Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been producing high-quality wines since 1974. The winery is known for its Brut sparkling wines, made using traditional techniques and the finest grapes.
  6. J.K. Carriere Vineyards: J.K. Carriere Vineyards is a small, family-owned winery that specializes in producing high-quality sparkling wines, including Brut. The winery is known for its elegant and complex sparkling wines made using traditional techniques.
  7. Cristom Vineyards: Cristom Vineyards is a family-owned winery that produces a variety of high-quality wines, including sparkling Brut. The winery is known for its sparkling wines made using traditional Méthode Champenoise techniques.
  8. Domaine Drouhin Oregon: Domaine Drouhin Oregon is a subsidiary of the renowned Burgundy winery, Maison Joseph Drouhin. The winery produces high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as sparkling Brut wines.
  9. Schramsberg Vineyards: Schramsberg Vineyards is a historic winery that has been producing high-quality sparkling wines since the 1960s. The winery is known for its Brut sparkling wines, made using traditional Méthode Champenoise techniques.
  10. Anne Amie Vineyards: Anne Amie Vineyards is a family-owned winery that produces a variety of high-quality wines, including sparkling Brut. The winery is known for its sparkling wines made using traditional techniques and the finest grapes from the Willamette Valley.
  11. Antica Terra: Antica Terra is a small, family-owned winery that produces a limited number of high-quality wines, including sparkling Brut. The winery is known for its sparkling wines made using traditional techniques and the finest grapes from the Willamette Valley.

These wineries offer a unique and diverse range of sparkling Brut wines and wine-tasting experiences, showcasing the quality and diversity of the wines produced in the Willamette Valley. Visitors are encouraged to check with each winery for specific wine offerings and tasting experiences.

How do I pair my Sparkling Brut?

Many of the wineries in the valley that make sparkling wines do wine-tasting events with food pairings. Winderlea, for example, has an annual “Shellabration” that pairs their lovely Sparkling Brut with an array of locally prepared seafood.

willamette valley sparkling wine
Seafood pasta with clams Spaghetti alle Vongole on a light background. Top view

Sparkling Brut wines are versatile and pair well with a variety of foods, making them a popular choice for events and special occasions. Some of the best food pairings for Willamette Valley Sparkling Brut include:

  1. Seafood: Sparkling Brut pairs well with shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and lobster, as well as sushi and sashimi.
  2. Fruit: Sparkling Brut’s crisp acidity and citrusy notes complement the sweetness of fresh fruit, such as strawberries, raspberries, and green apples.
  3. Brunch foods: Sparkling Brut is a popular choice for brunch and pairs well with classic brunch foods such as eggs benedict, smoked salmon, and avocado toast.
  4. Hors d’oeuvres: Sparkling Brut is the perfect pairing for light and crunchy hors d’oeuvres, such as crudité, shrimp cocktail, and bruschetta.
  5. Cheeses: Sparkling Brut pairs well with a variety of soft cheeses, such as brie, goat cheese, and blue cheese, as well as hard cheeses, such as Parmesan and pecorino.
  6. Desserts: Sparkling Brut is a popular choice for dessert and pairs well with sweet and fruity desserts, such as fruit tarts, macarons, and sorbet.

When pairing food with Sparkling Brut, it is important to consider the wine’s acidity, sweetness, and flavor profile to ensure that the pairing is harmonious.

Final Thoughts

With so much to work with, the era of sparkling wines in the Willamette Valley is just beginning!

You can expect to see an explosion of new endeavors focused on sparkling wine, which is a favorite of those in the industry in the valley.

So pop open some bubbles and get creative–maybe even try some of Hannah’s famous local popcorn or pair it with some of your favorite bacon (yeah, that’s right, Sparkling Brut pairs perfectly with bacon!)

Click for a Sparkling Wine Tour of the Willamette Valley.

References

1.https://www.winetraveler.com/wine-resources/willamette-valley-sparkling-wine-buyers-guide/

2.https://thedundee.com/top-sparkling-experiences-in-the-willamette-valley-2/

3.https://dundeehills.org/sparkling-wines-of-the-dundee-hills/

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