About this WINE
Domaine Drouhin, Oregon
Burgundian soul meets American soil at Domaine Drouhin, the leading Oregon Pinot Noir producer run by Véronique Drouhin. At the very heart of Domaine Drouhin's Oregon 225-acre estate are the 85 acres of hillside vineyards in Oregon's Red Hills, which produce two acclaimed Pinot Noirs cuveés and a very limited amount of Chardonnay. These vineyards share a nearly identical climate, latitude and aspect with their counterparts in France.
The first vines were planted in 1988, and now Domain Drouhin has 72 acres of Pinot Noir and 13 acres of Chardonnay. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings are a mixture of assorted Dijon clones grafted onto a variety of rootstocks. Each vine produces approximately 3/4 of a bottle of wine!
The best Pinot Noir barrels are saved for the Cuvée Laurène, a wine which will grow in depth and complexity with up to 10 year's cellaring. More recently the Drouhins have produced a limited amount of tasty-rather-than toasty Chardonnay; again to significant critical acclaim.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.