Hello friends. I always liked that M. Ward lyric in Magic Trick where he sings: “She’s got one magic trick / Just one and that’s it / Ooh… She disappears.” That’s the story of DDO wines too. They appear in the market, and then they have one trick: they disappear.
But every once in a great while, the stars align, to where we can offer multiple wines from Veronique Drouhin’s outstanding lineup. Today is such a day.
The main thrust of today’s offer will be the new release of Laurene, from the otherworldly 2012 vintage in Oregon. And then we’ll also have last-call reoffers on 2013 Arthur Chardonnay, 2013 Dundee Hills Pinot (which just earned an eye-popping review from Decanter), and 2011 Laurene (which also earned a great recent review).
One of the great thrills of attending Oregon Pinot Camp back in 2012 was meeting Veronique Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon (see picture, taken from the top of DDO’s vineyards; Veronique is front and center with the purple name-tag; I’m looming behind her). Her home base these days is in Beaune, but she is in Oregon on a regular basis, especially around harvest time. Veronique mentioned at the time that her father also still comes to Oregon during harvest time on a regular basis. It’s clear that the family has a deeply-rooted connection to the Willamette Valley. It’s a second home to them, and many of the other long-time winemakers in the valley seem like extended Drouhin family members.
I won’t rehash the entire story of DDO here (see our inaugural DDO offer for those details), but suffice it to say that making wine in Oregon was still a pretty risky proposition in 1987, and for the young Veronique to eschew the clear path leading to a career in Burgundy, and to instead farm wine grapes on a converted Christmas tree orchard in the Dundee Hills, well, that should give you a sense of the woman’s character.
After the challenges of the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages in Oregon, 2012 was welcomed with open arms by Willamette vintners. I think we’ve all tasted enough 2012 Pinots at this point to have a clear body of evidence pointing to an outstanding vintage. Laurene (DDO’s flagship Pinot Noir) is outstanding even in mediocre vintages. In a vintage like 2012, well, look out. It’s always a selection of the finest barrels from the Domaine’s estate vineyards, and Veronique never gussies Laurene up with too much oak (it’s just shy of 20% here); it’s always the fruit and the Dundee Hills land that come to the fore.
It begins with a lovely nose of black cherry, loamy earth, rose petal florals, and spicy notes of licorice and woodsmoke. In the mouth, you can feel the bridge being built between old world and new, between Burgundy and Oregon. This has the fleshiness and fruit intensity of a down-the-middle Oregon vintage, but it still has Veronique’s sensibilities, which means there is acidity, minerality, and loads of nervy energy. The finishing salty lick of ripe, polished tannin suggests enough stuffing and structure to support a long evolution ahead. This is stylish Oregon Pinot to be sure!
Here are Veronique’s notes on the wine: [TEXT WITHHELD]
Originally offered February 4, 2015, and this is last call, as we’re down to the last little parcel remaining in the northwest. Excerpts from the original:
The first Pinot Noir vines went into the ground at DDO in 1988, and it didn’t take long for Chardonnay to follow, just four years later. Those 1992-planted vines were 100% Dijon-clone, making them some of the oldest Dijon-clone Chardonnay planted in the new world. 1996 was the first vintage with usable fruit, so the release of the 2013 marks the 18th vintage. As the vines enter their adolescence, recent vintages of Arthur have displayed more depth of character, more wet-stone minerality, and more complexity. All that, and the price has barely risen since the 2005 vintage. It’s a fine bridge wine between old-world and new, with Veronique melding Burgundian sensibility to the joyous exuberance of Oregon fruit.
This comes entirely from the DDO estate, and it clocks in at 13.9% listed alc. There is a beautiful base of layered tree (apple, pear) and stone (peach, nectarine) fruits, but it’s the subtle complexities that really get the heart racing here: flowers, spices, stony minerals, creamy lactic notes: all flit in and out. The balance is pinpoint across multiple axes – flesh and acidity, fruit and oak – and the overall impression is of a characterful, complex Chardonnay.
Since that original offer, this earned an outstanding review in the April Wine Enthusiast: Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
Originally offered February 4, 2015, and this too is likely last call. Excerpts from the original:
This is DDO’s entry-level bottling, now coming entirely from their estate vineyards in the Dundee Hills, and it is a total charmer, with loads of beautiful floral notes, cherry blossom to lift and pair with fleshy red cherry fruit and good jory earth notes. Elegant and graceful, lithe and balanced, this is a wonderfully accessible vintage of DDO. Yes, you *can* age it, but you don’t necessarily have to; it really brings terrific pleasure in its youth, right now. One of a handful of true classics in Oregon Pinot Noir.
Here is what Veronique has to say: [TEXT WITHHELD]
And here is the recent Decanter review. Decanter (Laure Patry): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
Originally offered February 26, 2015. Last call for sure! Excerpts from the original:
This is a wine with a devoted – and national – following (come to think of it, an international following, considering the Drouhin family’s deep connections on the Continent), and there’s never very much of it. Also, considering the stratospheric pricing of some Oregon Pinot (I’m looking at you, Archery Summit), and considering the solarsystemic pricing of Grand Cru Burgundy (even from this very Drouhin family), Laurene suddenly seems like a comparative value.
Here are Veronique’s notes on this vintage of Laurene (13.9% listed alc): [TEXT WITHHELD]
And here is the recent Decanter review. Decanter (Laure Patry): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
Please limit order request to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.