, , , ,

The Oregon Vineyards of Domaine Drouhin

Most wine drinkers have a bottle or two – or many – stashed away for a special occasion. While much can be said for popping one open on a Tuesday night just because you ARE special, we do tend to squirrel them away with a purpose.

I had such a purpose this week for a friend who will be moving out of town for a year. Patrick is my best wine buddy. We normally taste something at least once a week so he will be missed.

In Patrick’s honor I went to the storage system and snooped around and decided on a Domaine Drouhin 07 Laurene Pinot Noir. I picked this up in the summer of 2011 while visiting the Willamette Valley and the gorgeous Drouhin winery.

Here are some photos from that day in the valley. Photos include stops at Domaine Serene, Winderlea, and Sokol Blosser, three more great Oregon wineries

Simply put, the Laurene was one of the best Oregon Pinots I’ve ever enjoyed. I think Patrick might agree. The 07 Oregon vintage has gotten a lot of press for its up and down quality as its aged. But tasting the 07 wines last year was a real job. I was actually in Oregon when most of the 07 vintage was released and there wasn’t much to like, though I didn’t visit Drouhin.

Last summer the 07 Pinot Noir really came to life. The 07 Laurene is Domaine Drouhin’s top bottling. It doesn’t come cheap at $75 a bottle, though I did find it as low as $57 on the internet.

The wine had wonderful complex fruit much more pronounced that some wines of any vintage. There was lovely dark cherry but with a bright freshness you only get in the best Pinot wines. It had strong but well-balanced acid which would have been perfect for some sockeye salmon or steelhead trout. But when I open a Pinot of this quality I just want to sip it. Maybe a little matching chocolate with this Pinot but it should be savored.

I didn’t even have to look to guess the critics liked this wine, but I did. Josh Reynolds of Tanzer gave it 90 points. “Brisk, finely etched red fruit flavors carry no excess weight and gain intensity with air. The lingering finish echoes the strawberry and blood orange notes.” That geeky enough for you?

Robert Parker scored the wine 91 points, Wine Spectator agreed with the 91 score, and the Burghound jumped it up to 93 points.

Again, the price point will scare off many and I understand that. But this is a great example of you get what you pay for.

Domaine Drouhin 2007, SRP $75, Very Highly Recommended

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com