We’re enjoying Oregon sparkling wine

Jacqueline Kirby Zonkowski
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We have literally popped onto the Oregon sparkling wine scene

In the last few years, these Willamette Valley wines have made a name for itself in the celebratory community. When you think about it, the land of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay makes sense as a producer of great sparkling wines.

The production is newer and slightly limited, but as you browse your wine store shelves, you will notice more and more Oregon sparkling wines available. Entrepreneurs with custom crush facilities for its production are partially the reason for its exciting expansion. Of course, producing sparkling wines is a much more expensive project than still wine, and it takes up a lot more space with the aging process, but phew, are these wines worth the work!

Thinking outside the bottle

Many Oregon sparkling wines and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, are made by Méthode Champenoise, the traditional method used in Champagne. Authentic Champagne can only be made in Champagne and use three grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is an incredible place to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and it’s a natural progression to become renowned for sparkling wines. But the winemakers in Oregon don’t have to follow the strict regulations of Champagne and can express a no-holds-barred approach. Our winemakers have taken this freedom to test (with great success) a variety of grapes for sparkling wines.

In an Oregon Blanc de Blanc, you will find Chardonnay but often a little Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, and other white grapes. These wines typically possess a pale straw hue, small bubble structure, and light citrus aromatics. The refined white wines pack flavors of apple, vanilla cream, and brioche on the palate and have a light finish.

Oregon Blanc de Noir is based on Pinot Noir and may be complemented by Pinot Meunier, Gamay or other varietals. Blanc de Noir typically has a well-balanced structure with red fruit flavors with subtle notes of white flower and cream that develop during fermentation.

The winemakers at Troon Vineyard have a sparkling wine in the style of an Italian Lambrusco made with Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Their wines are pét-nat, short for pétillant naturel, which means the bubbles, or carbonation, develop naturally in the bottle after the first fermentation; and not from a secondary fermentation with additional sugars added, like in the traditional method.

Oregon sparkling wines are unique and exciting, with so much promise as the area has just started to scratch the surface of what it can produce — and so far, wine fans in-the-know can’t seem to get enough. Cheers!


Learn more about Oregon wines

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About Jacqueline Kirby Zonkowski

As an avid traveler, Jacqueline started finding herself in popular wine regions around the world, fueling her passion for food and wine. When she isn't traveling you will find her at home with a glass of wine in hand and a smile on her face while tasting new recipes with her Chef husband. She received her WSET Level II Certification with Distinction, Argentina Wine Specialist, and Oregon Wine Expert certifications. Jacqueline has worked in the wine marketing and hospitality industry for many years. She continues to increase her wine knowledge and looks forward to creating her own wine one day.