Blizzard of Bubbles

Anne Amie hosts sparkling event despite weather

By Jade Helm

Neither snow, nor sleet, nor heat, nor gloom shall keep Oregon bubble lovers from their sparkling. Uncanny in its history of blue-skied February days, Annie Amie Vineyards’ fifth annual Bubbles Fest was hosted against a snowy backdrop Feb. 9 and 10. Many were shopping for their special occasion Valentine wines, but with so many beautiful Oregon bubbles, treating yourself could become a frequent practice.

With animated conversations and genuine smiles, guests sampled wines from 25 producers paired with nibbles from Northwest Fresh Seafood’s oyster bar, Columbia Empire Farms, Big’s Chicken and Smitten Artisan Truffles.

Most of the wines were estate grown and made, and the majority was labeled with a specific vintage. These points appear in stark contrast to the wine industry in Champagne. While the famous French region is positioned as the classic example of style and quality, grower-produced bottlings are a small percentage compared to the Champagne houses — fruit is purchased to supply the bigger labels and vintage bottlings occur only in declared years.

With each winery pouring special offerings, there were a few personal standouts. Lundeen Wines demonstrated the increased intensity and integrated texture between a four- and six-year disgorged Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut. The barrel-fermented wines both showed a sea salt cracker characteristic and softened edges as they progressed.

Left Coast Estate surprised palates with its full-bodied yet mineral-driven Brut Rosé of Pinot Meunier, a traditional grape of Champagne but

seldom produced unblended. Division Winemaking Company made good use of and a good story from grapes they feel “truly and transparently represent the 2017 growing season and the influence of regional wildfires.” The Yama American Sparkling Wine, a rosé of Grenache, featured a slight smokiness — think open-hearth baked bread — screaming for a smoked fish accompaniment. 

Kramer Vineyards and Soter Vineyards, again, delivered their “pretty no matter who you are” style of sparkling with the former’s Blanc de Blancs of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, and Brut Rosé, and the latter’s Mineral Springs Brut Rosé. Willamette Valley Vineyards’ elegant Brut Méthode Champenoise showed minerality and was as crisp and clean as fresh rain — or snow.  And, as usual, the pièce de résistance came from host Annie Amie, with its consistently excellent Marilyn Reserve Brut Cuvée and Marilyn Reserve Brut Rosé.

The annual event kicks off a whole year of festivities as Anne Amie Vineyards celebrates their 20th anniversary; learn more at

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