Joe Ibrahim, a native of New York, and his team has earned a great deal of acclaim for this example of méthode Champenoise using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The recent – and overdue – embrace of sparkling wine in this country prompted Willamette Valley Vineyards to nearly double the production of its Brut program from 2014 to 2016, and Jim Bernau’s collection of vineyards has made Ibrahim’s pursuit of excellence easier to attain. Harvested in late August in order to grab hold of natural acidity (19 Brix), the winemaking includes seven months in a mix of neutral French oak and stainless steel prior to eight months of surlie aging. As a result, aromas of lemon custard and fresh-off-the-griddle almond pancakes lead to flavors of Asian pear and Granny Smith apple that are carried within a great mousse. Lime zest in the finish reflects in the scant amount of residual sugar (0.5%). Suggested pairings include fresh oysters, sashimi, lobster, caviar and grilled scallops or salty, creamy or nutty foods such as fried calamari, chicken and waffles, smoked salmon, deviled eggs, aged cheeses or stuffed mushrooms with brie.
Production: 869 cases