Varnum Vintners 2017 Brut Rosé

Drink it, don’t overthink it.

Cyler Varnum likes to say his wines are “made to drink, don’t overthink”. A catchy phrase that belies the serious thought he and his wife Taralyn have put into their wines.

When I asked him if he considered himself part of the natural wine movement, he laughed and rolled his eyes. “Yes,” he said, “I consider myself a natural winemaker – I use grapes from sustainably harvested vineyards, don’t add yeast, and make minimal interventions to the wine. But I’m not a religious extremist!”

Cyler was trained as a natural resource manager and thought he’d become a fish farmer. But after a semester in Australia, he decided wine was his true calling. He interned with Oregon’s famed organic Lemelson Vineyards and went back to Arizona full of excitement.

Before long, he tried to make wine in Arizona, even planting some grapes. But quickly realized that it wasn’t likely that wine could ever be made in a sustainable way in Arizona.

So, he and Taralyn, a high school science teacher, packed up their bags and made their way to Oregon. Their scientific backgrounds make them a natural fit for winemaking and their fun, understated attitudes sell their wines without a lot of fuss.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Varnum Vintners, McMinnville, Oregon
2017 Brut Rosé

Oh, what a wine this is. Far and away, this sparkler was the surprise hit of our 2018 Pour Oregon wine festival. All day long, we kept hearing people run into friends and implore them to “go try the bubbles at Varnum!”

This wine is 55% Chardonnay, 35% Riesling, and 10% Pinot Noir. It was fermented naturally and aged in stainless and neutral oak. You’ll find aromas of strawberry, tropical fruit, and floral and spice notes. The taste is fruity and juicy, with summer raspberries, and a hint of sweetness paired with minerality.

Just open a bottle on a sunny day, put your feet up, and don’t stop until you’ve had enough. Maybe one more after that.

A Cellar 503 selection in June 2018, Best of Pour Oregon 2018 Willamette Valley | Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling

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