Travel – A verb that has been dreamt of by many this 2020.
Now that we are in this pandemic, we have to be creative and as wine-lovers say it (as I would say it J), travel with your mouth wide-open; drink a glass of wine and you can see places. Now, is your glass ready?
French Soul, Oregon Soil – a catch phrase that instantly ignited my curiosity in the Drouhin line.
How will the Old World reconnect with the new?
Oregon, a travelers nook for all things artistic and new, a place I luckily got to visit exactly a year ago. Aside from the deep forests of Forks City that The Twilight Saga showed us, this Beaver State has a whole lot more to offer. Coming from the city center of Portland, it will only take you around 45mins to journey on a different sight, a visit to the state’s wine haven.
Circling back to French Soul, Oregon Soil; The Drouhin Family name is one of the most renowned and respected in Burgundy where their wines flourished in perfecting the precious Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays for more than a century now. In the 1960s, Robert Drouhin visited the west coast and found Oregon impressive with its natural beauty, considering the fact that there wasn’t a vineyard in sight, yet. Come 1979, during The Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad; he became even more intrigued when an Oregon wine – The 1975 South Block Reserve from the Eyrie Vineyard ranked in the Top 10 of Pinot Noirs. With this amusement, he re-staged the tasting in his own cellar to try and digest the New World competition, and again; the same wine placed 2nd and very close to the 1959 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny. A decade after, that curiosity became a reality as they took on a piece of land in Dundee Hills with Robert’s daughter Veronique Drouhin. Being a distinguished winery in France, Oregon saw it as a milestone to have the family estate – setting the region in an international spotlight. By the early 90s, DDO – Domaine Drouhin Oregon made its debut as they released their very first – The 1988 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir which was said to have aged beautifully and still very much drinkable today.
Having a wealthy history such as this, it made me wonder even more; what did the The Legendary Robert Drouhin see and tasted that made him choose this land? Why Oregon?
Part of the DO Experience is going around the vineyard, looking at the jewels up close and personal, meaning… tasting the grapes! Our dear friend from DDO, Ashley Bell guided us in the wonderful journey — my favorite, tasting the real fruit even before it becomes the magical potion. Pinot noir grapes are notoriously difficult to grow due to its thin skin, but if done properly, you will have a mighty elegant wine that will keep you salivating after every sip. I remember it so well; the skin is not so tannic and thin, it’s like munching on a peach. The juice? – it was heavenly sweet and has that balance of acidity; the kind of sweetness that is just right for you to keep on wanting more. In the vineyard, our guide showed us the spectrum of DDO terroir; how the soil is, the climate, water, everything. What fascinated me even more is them being a sustainable vineyard, in simple terms – they make their wine naturally with gentle treatment and very minimal manipulation, making their wines true to the fruit and at the same time has that same respect to the environment. For me, making wines in this fashion is very important, nature has its way of giving back and as long as we take care of it as much as we can, it will give back threefold.
Upon entering the cellar, you will see huge barrels which has its own history. Each barrel was carefully chosen and shipped from Beaune, Burgundy. These oak containers undergo a tight selection from Maison Joseph Drouhin — specifics such as selected trees, 4 year natural outdoor drying, lightly toasted etc. See how keen they are with details?
Last and definitely not the least, we reached the tasting room.
Here we tasted 6 wines –2 whites and 4 reds where we got to do a side by side with a Maison Joseph Drouhin and Domaine Drouhin Oregon.
At this point I can go on and on with the purity and elegance in each glass, but I have 2 that stood out most: Pinot Noir Laurène 2017 and Édition Limitée Pinot Noir 2017.
Pinot Noir Laurène 2017 – named after Veronique’s daughter – Laurène, DDO Flagship bottle.
In the nose, red and black cherries, a little spice – in between Nutmeg and Cinnamon plus some herbs like sage. On the palate, you can feel the precision of its tannins which makes it silky and luxurious, just how Burgundians do it; fresh acidity slices through it which makes it even more tasty and balanced.
Édition Limitée Pinot Noir 2017 – (only 249 Cases Produced)This wine is sexy (if that makes sense), the nose is a marriage of blueberry and spices; gives you that sultry feel in the palate, layers and layers of ripe fruits with the right amount of tannins. This bottle will for sure age well! (Honestly trying my very best to make it last in my cellar for a few more years before I pop it open.)
Experiencing the DDO vineyard first hand, I can now say, the Burgundians chose well! They have successfully created a gorgeous collision of the two wine worlds. Props to the team of DDO for making this possible, Ashley Bell, CSW — Director of Sales & Education, Domaine Drouhin Oregon and David Millan, Managing Director, Domaine Drouhin Oregon. ‘Til we meet again!
Travel with your mouth wide open! Cheers!