Argyle Nuthouse Chardonnay 2014
Entirely from the Lone Star Vineyard, 2014 Nuthouse Chardonnay displays the concentration and power of the Eola-Amity Hills, while still dancing along its graceful frame. Grilled peach, wild honey, suggestions of nougat and roast almonds are framed around dense, yet crystalline delicacy. Warmer than the previous vintage, and without the distraction of late September rains, the 2014 vintage has brought beautifully ripe flavors. Entirely barrel fermented, the wine was allowed to age elegantly on full lees for 16 months in French oak, of which 40% was new. The middle palate fills the mouth with strength and texture, while finishing with long, caressing, silky vibration.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2014 Chardonnay Nuthouse has expressive grapefruit, white peach and lemon curd notes with clotted cream and baking bread nuances. Medium-bodied with great finesse and a lovely creaminess to the texture, it provides plenty of stone fruit and citrus flavor intensity in the mouth with a long savory finish.
This needs another year or two in bottle to further integrate the disparate components, especially the aggressive barrel flavors. What's here is all good—vivid, punchy apple fruit, sharp acids and toasty wood notes. There's a hint of vanilla custard and even a suggestion of banana cream pie. It just needs to meld a bit longer and the score could go higher.
Twenty-five years ago, Argyle began making wine in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Since 1987, winemaker Rollin Soles and viticulturist Allen Holstein have teamed up to produce world-class method champenoise sparkling wines, barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and silky-textured Pinor Noir from low-yielding vines that are winery farmed on some of the best hillside slopes and elevations. Argyle wines have received a total of 11 Wine Spectator Top 100 designations - more than any other winery in Oregon. The Argyle wines represented on this list include sparkling wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, truly making Argyle one of the finest practitioners of the craft of elegant, long-lived winegrowing.
Running north to south, adjacent to the Willamette River, the Eola-Amity Hills AVA has shallow and well-drained soils created from ancient lava flows (called Jory), marine sediments, rocks and alluvial deposits. These soils force vine roots to dig deep, producing small grapes with great concentration.
Like in the McMinnville sub-AVA, cold Pacific air streams in via the Van Duzer Corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidity in its grapes. This great concentration, combined with marked acidity, give the Eola-Amity Hills wines—namely Pinot noir—their distinct character. While the region covers 40,000 acres, no more than 1,400 acres are covered in vine.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.