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.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.