Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Noir Rosé, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2012, 13.9% abv

A frequent award winner and touted widely as a top Oregon Pinot Noir producer, this winery was one on the list of ‘must visits’ long before we even stepped foot in the Willamette Valley.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the Wine Enthusiast and other publications have awarded it many accolades. But one of the most outstanding has to be the inclusion of the Archery Summit Estate 2004 by Michelle Obama on the first White House state dinner menu in 2009 (

We enjoyed our tasting on their rock patio with the knowledgeable and beautifully named Evita Corona who literally grew up on the estate; her father is the vineyard manager. Talk about dream summer jobs.

Although by this time in our Willamette Valley trip I was seriously over my limit of allowable litres for cross-border transport, I still purchased a bottle of the Vireton Pinot Noir rosé.

There are three major ways to produce rosé wine – skin contact, saignée and blending (not allowed in France by wine law and generally not done by any premium quality wineries regardless of where they are in the world). The Vireton was produced in the saignée method from fruit of five of their six vineyards located in Dundee Hills AVA and Ribbon Ridge AVA.

Saignée literally means ‘bleed’ and refers to the removal of some of the first run juice from the must. This concentrates the remaining must and ensures there’s more colour and tannin in the resulting wine.

This rosé was clear and bright, a deep Chinook salmon shade and showed light legs. On the nose it was clean and youthful with medium minus intense aromas of strawberry, honey and watermelon.

The palate was dry with high acidity, ethereal tannins, medium and round body and medium plus alcohol, yet it was not even remotely boozy. The medium plus flavour profile showed more strawberry with some jalapeno and banana pepper bite, red ruby grapefruit, sweet watermelon and some apricot as well. This wine had a medium plus finish.

WSET ‘very good’ this was a great accompaniment to garden fresh chef salads to celebrate Ali’s 29th birthday party. Don’t age for longer that a couple of years – drink now and enjoy often.


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