Sparkling event set for Valentine’s Day.
Date: Feb. 14, 2015, noon–4 p.m.
Location: Anne Amie Vineyards
Address: 6580 N.E. Mineral Springs Rd., Carlton
Wineries: Airlie, Anne Amie, Division, J.K. Carriere, Kramer, R. Stuart, Raptor Ridge, Roots, Sokol Blosser, Soter (wineries and wines subject to change)
Tickets: $40 (advance)
Lovers of bubbles, and lovers in general, pay attention: On Valentine’s Day, Anne Amie Vineyards will host the Willamette Valley’s first-ever sparkling event: Bubbles Fest.
From noon to 4 p.m., guests will be romanced by the wines and the views — the patio will be enclosed within a heated tent with a windowed wall taking in the sweeping Coastal Range. Blues guitarist Ben Rice and cellist Gideon Freudmann will perform acoustic music to set the mood, and sweet and savory bubble-friendly bites from Missionary Chocolates, Briar Rose Creamery, Carlton Bakery and Northwest Fresh Seafood will add yet another layer of romance to the affair.
“Sparkling wine has a place in everyone’s heart,” said Luke Mathews, hospitality coordinator at Anne Amie and organizer of the event. “Sparkling wine also has a place in Willamette Valley as an increasing number of producers are releasing bottles of bubbles. There is camaraderie in the wine industry in Willamette Valley. In that spirit, Anne Amie wanted to invite friends and neighbors. One great bottle of sparkling is wonderful but 10 to 12 great bottles is really special.”
Even Valentine boycotters should take this opportunity to taste what Jeff Knapp, director of consumer relations at Sokol Blosser, calls “home-grown bubbles.”
“It is an exciting time for Oregon wine, with producers crafting such quality sparkling wines,” Knapp said. “Oregon has the ideal climate and varietals to craft world-class sparklers. I personally can’t wait to see where the industry goes with this wine category.” Sokol Blosser will be pouring their sparkling rosé of Pinot Noir and Evolution Sparkling.
Expect beautiful bubbly representations of Willamette Valley favorites Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but prepare your palate for some surprises, too. Winemaker Chris Berg, owner of Roots Wine Company, will be pouring a méthode Champenoise 2011 Pinot Noir rosé and a 2010 Melon de Bourgogne made with fruit sourced from neighboring Yamhill-Carlton AVA vineyard, Deux Vert. “It is a lot of fun to experiment outside the valley’s signature varietals,” Berg said.
Jim Prosser, owner of J.K. Carriere Wines, agrees: “There are so many manifestations of bubbles.” Prosser will be bringing a rare treat: 2011 Blanc de Noir. The wine is produced from Eola-Amity Hills AVA fruit sourced from Temperance Hill’s oldest block. Normally he makes Antoinette Pinot Noir from this fruit, but the cooler 2011 vintage produced “perfect chemistry for sparkling.” This wine presents beautiful depth of color, delicate strawberry flavor, a fantastic mousse and a crisp finish.
Division Wine Company will be pouring its premier, not-yet-released sparkling wine, 2013 Crémant de Portland. Owners Tom and Kate Monroe — also founders of Southeast Wine Collective — love French wine. Especially fond of the Loire and Burgundy regions, the Monroes crafted this blend from Yakima Valley Chenin Blanc as well as Cabernet Franc and Gamay. Kate explains they chose these varietals for “lots of texture.” The wine will be sold in futures at the event.
Anne Amie will also be releasing their first sparkling wine, a 2011 Brut Rosé of Pinot Noir. Winemaker Thomas Houseman explained that Anne Amie’s proprietor, Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr., asked him one day to make a sparkling wine. Houseman already had his eye on a particularly cool site at Anne Amie’s Twelve Oaks Vineyard on Chehalem Mountain he believed would be perfect for sparkling wines. “Usually a winemaker has to talk the owner into making sparkling,” Houseman explains. “He jumped at the chance and even planted Pinot Meunier, another classic grape of Champagne.”
Soter Vineyards will offer its 2010 Mineral Springs Brut Rosé. Making sparkling since 1997, Soter is somewhat of a veteran in Oregon terms. Chris Fladwood, estate winemaker, explains Soter sparkling wines are unique because of low yields and riddling by hand. “It is labor-intensive, but we want to make sure we are doing it right,” Fladwood says. “We touch our bottles every day.” Houseman reached out to Fladwood for advice when Anne Amie began their sparkling wine program. “We were happy to help,” says Fladwood. “The more great wine Oregon produces, the stronger we are as an industry.”
Raptor Ridge Winery will be pouring their first sparkling wine, a 2011 sparkling rosé from Harbinger Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains. This vineyard, planted in 1996, is a cool site with a 750-foot elevation. The winemaking team at Raptor Ridge found this site and the cool 2011 vintage produced “the perfect acid and brix ratio to launch their sparkling wine program.”
Airlie Winery will be pouring their 2010 Joi de Vie (Joy of Life). Owner Mary Olson explains that their cool site grapes didn’t ripen enough in 2010 to make their normal style of wine, so they made sparkling. “We got a little joy out of what could have been a bad life.” When asked if they would make another, Olson replied “Yes, I hope so. The ‘owner’ likes sparkling and it has been a grand thing to have.”
Kramer Vineyards and R. Stuart & Co. are among other producers planning to pour at this event. Many winery principals will be in attendance to answer questions and enhance the tasting experience.
Tickets are $40 and must be purchased in advance at http://bubblesfest2015.eventbrite.com or in the tasting room at Anne Amie Vineyards. Bottles will be available for purchase at the event.
Please note some changes may occur in the wineries represented and wines poured.
Jade Helm is the primary author of Tasting Pour, a blog about wine, cocktails and food. She is a Certified Specialist in Wine (Society of Wine Educators) and has earned a diploma from Wine & Spirits Education Trust.