Ve´ronique's Tasting Notes: The 2004 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is quintessential
Pinot to me: beautiful, soft, feminine, and obviously pleasurable. The color is classic
ruby red, and the wine has the medium body I look for. On the nose, the ‘04 is all
cherries and crushed berries. On the palate, the wine is luscious and concentrated,
leading to a long finish. I wouldn't hesitate to drink the wine now, but I would be very
happy to save several bottles to enjoy over the next 10+ years.
Domaine Drouhin Oregon Winery
Established in 1987, Domaine Drouhin Oregon is owned by famed Burgundy producer, Maison Joseph Drouhin. Hand-crafted by fourth generation winemaker, Veronique Drouhin-Boss, the distinctive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of Domaine Drouhin are prized for their elegance, balance and finesse, as well as their ability to age. Philippe Drouhin, Veronique's brother, is in charge of viticulture and has earned an international reputation for his work both in Burgundy and Oregon. Ninety acres of the 225-acre estate are now planted, with over 3100 vines per acre. Domaine Drouhin Oregon's landmark 4-level gravity flow winery is nestled into the heart of the Dundee Hills.
View all Domaine Drouhin Oregon Wines
Named for the river that runs through the valley from Portland to Eugene, Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the Northwest. While along the same north/south line as Seattle, the Willamette Valley is protected from Pacific rains by the Coast Range on the western border and the Cascade Ranges to the east. Though sunshine is typically plentiful, rainfall can occasionally be tricky, and the wines here vary vintage to vintage. Within the Willamette Valley is a number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
The valley is known for its Pinots – Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. With a climate similar to Burgundy – in rainfall, sunlight hours and other climate factors – Pinot Noir has flourished here. Pinot Noir in Oregon produces wines that are fruit forward, yet complex, some with good agebility.
Other than Pinot Noir, many wineries grow Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Gris from Oregon is delightful in its texture and food friendliness. Chardonnay in the valley adapts well to the cool climate and produces lean, elegant wines.
Oregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.