Domaine Drouhin in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Dundee Hills)
My reviews of two samples from Drouhin, a Pinot from Burgundy and a Chardonnay from Willamette Valley, are below. But first, here’s some background on the company.
In 1890, Joseph Drouhin founded his Maison in Beaune, Burgundy. He was just 22 years old. The company is now in its fourth generation of family ownership. The headquarters remain in central Beaune. I’ve toured and tasted there and highly recommend the experience.
Over time, the company graduated from only buying grapes to owning its own properties. It now owns 182.5 acres spread throughout all of Burgundy’s zones, including Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, and Côte Chalonnaise. Much of the acreage is either Premier Cru or Grand Cru, including Clos des Mouches and Clos de Vougeot.
In 1989, Drouhin built a winery in the Willamette Valley’s Dundee Hills, under the direction of Veronique Drouhin. With an enology degree from Dijon and some experience with three of Oregon’s most historic wineries—The Eyrie Vineyards, Adelsheim Vineyards and Bethel Heights—she was well-equipped to lead her family’s efforts in the Willamette Valley. She remains the winemaker today. Her brother, Philippe, manages the company’s vineyards in both Burgundy and Oregon.
Recently, Drouhin established a second Willamette Valley vineyard. They call the project Roserock. It’s located in the southern extent of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, close to the state capitol, Salem. Key features of the AVA are volcanic soils and the Van Duzer Corridor, a gap in the coastal mountain range which allows cold ocean breezes to sweep in.
2015 Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon 91 13.9% 750ml $38
This Chardonnay is a fine-boned study on structure and acidity. Aromas include poached yellow apple, lemon, yogurt, dusty mineral, pretty oak and jots butter and toast. It’s medium-bodied and very fresh in the mouth with crisp yellow apple, lemon, underripe stone fruit, mineral and toasted almond flavors.
I sometimes taste in multiple glass shapes to see how they affect my perception and enjoyment of the wine. In this case, I recommend the Riedel Montrachet glass, which gave the wine a rounder mouthfeel, greater flavor intensity and more layers of complexity.
2014 Joseph Drouhin Pinot Noir Gevrey-Chambertin 90 13.0% 750ml $68
Smokey, dark red cherry, damp potting soil, spice, wood and dry herb on the nose. On the tart-fruited palate, there’s firm, fine-grained texture with generous acidity and medium+ body overall. Flavors include dark red cherry skin, spice, earth, blood orange and strawberry. Drink with food, 2019 through 2025.
Copyright Fred Swan 2018. Photos courtesy of Domaine Drouhin. All rights reserved.