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Posted Sep 18, 2018
September Wine of the Month: Brittan Vineyards

Welcome to September.


Here at ARGAUX, when musing over a featured wine for this month, we kept reminiscing about Pinot Camp in Oregon. While we have carried the Brittan Pinot Noir for a minute, we really gained an understanding of its intricacies during that remarkable weekend.


This Pinot is a bit lighter for the beginning of the fall (or here is So Cal, the idea of fall), and a perfect fit for the mood of those back-to-business September days that give way to more sophisticated evenings.


But what made us really zero in on this Pinot from Brittan vineyards is the vintner himself, Robert, and his wife Ellen. As the Head of Curriculum this year at Pinot Camp, he is one of the most trusted and knowledgeable people in the Oregon Pinot world.


Margaux first met Robert and Ellen at a lunch in Beverly Hills through a mutual friend. There were only ten people at the lunch, so they were able to get into deep conversations right away.  And Robert doesn’t hesitate to lay it all out (and Ellen doesn’t hesitate to reel him in); his overt geekiness about the wine and supreme authenticity instantly touched us.


Robert was a Physics and Philosophy in college, and ran into a problem common with young geeky students…a lack of topics to talk about with the ladies. Aka he was the super nerd then he still is now. He thought winemaking in his dorm room would at least give him in an edge in the conversation department…


Flash to many years later and he is working for some of the most prestigious winemakers in Napa.


After 16 years of making wine for some of the most well-respected companies, he and Ellen decided to strike out on their own.





Which brings us to Oregon.


The Brittan vineyard is on the same parallel as Burgundy so it’s no wonder we are starting to see some incredible wine flowing from the Northwest corner of this country.


It took Robert and Ellen years to find the ideal site on which to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but after an exhaustive search, Brittan Vineyards began on an 128-acre hillside in McMinnville, Oregon in December 2004. The soils are a mixture of glacial deposits and volcanic material, with a predominant presence of broken basalt. And Robert is so focused on the way the site influences the wine – he could talk for hours about how he has made his decisions based on the geology and climate.


The 2014 Basalt Block Pinot Noir reveals red-fruited notes of black cherry, red plum skin, black raspberry, and red licorice on the nose. As the wine slides onto the palate, notes of red current, cassis, blackberry compote, pomegranate, French lavender, bergamot and orange zest unveil, framed in by black pepper and allspice. The layers of complexity, savoriness, and strong mid palate provide the backbone for the wine and create a long, lingering, elegant finish.


The 2015 Chardonnay is rich and expressive while still retaining subtlety and elegance. The nose evokes notes of Meyer lemon curd and orange blossom, backed by hints of exotic cardamom, white pepper, and vanilla. The palate is soft and round with pear and white peach, balanced by a refreshing, vibrant finish.



Duck breast is one of our favorites for this Pinot. Or, like at Pinot Camp, create an open fire in your kitchen and put a salmon on a stake. Kidding!


We love roasted mushrooms with the last of the herbs from your summer garden with this wine as well.


Contact us to add this bottle to your Club ARGAUX batch this month. And a big thank you to Brittan Vineyards for letting Margaux experience Pinot Camp this year, where she learned so much about their story!


Cheers From Your Pocket Somms! – ARGAUX


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