Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2016 vintage defies Veronique Drouhin’s customary restraint: It’s heady with aromas of cherry and strawberry, the forward fruit feeling almost pulpy on the palate. Yet notes of tanbark and firm, spicy tannins rein it in so that the wine maintains a kind of opulent grace, rich and sleek at once.
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.
Robert Drouhin’s vision of an Oregon estate winery that could rival the great vineyards of Burgundy has been realized at DDO. From what began as test plantings of cloned Pinot Noir rootstock, Domaine Drouhin now encompasses 124 acres of hillside vineyards. Interspersed with the Pinot Noir vines are 11 acres of Chardonnay, planted at various elevations and, like in Burgundy, planted right alongside rows of Pinot Noir.
The Drouhin Family’s winemaking roots run deep, having taken hold in Burgundy’s best vineyards more than a century ago. Through the years, there has been a very clear link, a continuum, that inhabits Maison Joseph Drouhin, and now Domaine Drouhin Oregon.
Home of the first Pinot noir vineyard of the Willamette Valley, planted by David Lett of Eyrie Vineyard in 1966, today the Dundee Hills AVA remains the most densely planted AVA in the valley (and state). To its north sits the Chehalem Valley and to its south, runs the Willamette River. Within the region’s 12,500 acres, about 1,700 are planted to vine on predominantly basalt-based, volcanic, Jory soil.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”