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Varnum Vintners

Varnum Vintners 2022 Brut Sparkling Wine

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.

Varnum Vintners

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Varnum Vintners, Amity, Oregon
2022 Brut Sparkling Wine

Notice the crown cap instead of a cork? Yep, that is Varnum Vintners to a “T”. While they do make serious long-aged sparkling wines, they also want to encourage everyone to lighten up and drink bubbles on a random Tuesday in April. So they’ve created a well-priced, well-made and delicious line of sparkling wines that are created by forced carbonation.

What is forced carbonation? Think of a Soda Stream that creates bubbly water for you at home. This is a very similar technique. Not complicated, but can create great sparkling wines at an affordable price!

This wine is a unique blend of grapes from old vines. It was aged on its lees in neutral French oak barrels and then force carbonated resulting in a creamy, rich texture with fine bubbles and flavors of green apple and crusty bread.  So good!

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2023, Wines We Love Willamette Valley | Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling