Pinot Noir is a persnickety grape to begin with, and finding good bottles that don’t require big outlays in austere times is another matter altogether. Fortunately, the folks at Argyle Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley have just the right solution for your Pinot-on-a-budget cravings.
Their 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a solid wine and a good value. It can be enjoyed for an average price of $22, according to Wine-Searcher, and for even a few dollars less in some stores.
To be clear, this is relatively big-production Pinot Noir — 47,000 cases, to be precise (that’s 564,000 bottles, to be even more precise) — so you should be able to find this wine quite easily. It would be unfair to compare it with small-production Oregon Pinots that offer more layered and nuanced complexity and sell for two to three times as much.
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But the Argyle Pinot Noir is a top choice for everyday drinking with such simple dishes as grilled chicken and salmon fillets. It’s medium-bodied with red and dark fruit tastes, including black cherry, cranberry, and blueberry, plus baking spices, a subtle layer of oak, and refreshing acidity. The components become more cohesive as the wine is exposed to air, so I would suggest decanting this one.
The winery makes a range of Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Rieslings, and sparkling wines. This Pinot Noir is part of its “Grower Series” of relatively affordable wines.
Also worth considering: Argyle’s 2019 Pinot Noir Rosé, a delightfully refreshing $20 wine with strawberry, raspberry, and spice notes that’s as good as any rosé you’ll find from Provence. With its long finish and bracing acidity, it’s one that I could drink all summer long.