Solena Estate Domaine Danielle Laurent Chardonnay 2011
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
After successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, the husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80-acre estate to commemorate their marriage in 2000. In May 2002, they launched Soléna by bottling their first vintage of Domaine Danielle Laurent Pinot Noir and, shortly thereafter, opening a tasting room in Carlton.
Soléna Estate began as a way to explore winemaking with other varietals grown in neighboring appellations while the family's young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District matured. In May 2007, Danielle and Laurent added the spectacular 100-acre Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA to their estate vineyard holdings. Today, Laurent and Danielle are producing Pinot Noir from their estate vineyards as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Late Harvest Riesling from select sites throughout Oregon and Washington.
Home to some of America’s most celebrated Pinot Noir, Oregon maintains a tight focus on small production, high quality wine even while the state’s industry enjoys steady growth. As a world-renowned wine region, Oregon has more than 700 wineries and is home to well over 70 grape varieties. With a mostly Mediterranean climate, its cooler and wetter regions lie in the west, close to the Pacific Coast.
By far the most reputed region is the Willamette Valley, which is further subdivided into six smaller appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton.
The Valley’s obvious success story is with Pinot Noir, which here takes on a personality that could be described in general terms as somewhere in between the wines of California and Burgundy—and is often more affordable than either one. The best Willamette Pinot noir has a rare combination of red and black fruit, elegant balance, high acidity and rustic earth. While completely enjoyable in their youth, some of the better, single vineyard or appellation-specific Pinot noirs can often benefit from some cellar time.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.