2006 Domaine Drouhin, Cuvée “Laurène” Pinot Noir
Last December, when we featured the Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley Pinot, we gave you the story of this iconic winery: how its roots go back to Maison Joseph Drouhin, in Beaune (in Burgundy); how the Drouhin family, seeing great promise for Oregon Pinot Noir, bought land in Dundee on a site similar in climate, latitude and aspect to the vineyards of Burgundy; and finally, how Véronique Drouhin, representing the fourth generation of Drouhin winemakers, brought her enology degree from the University of Dijon to their new property and become winemaker at Domaine Drouhin. Véronique’s wines are famous for their elegance, finesse and ageability, and December’s Willamette Valley Pinot was no exception. But this month we feature their flagship wine, Cuvée Laurène, named after Véronique’s oldest daughter. Laurène is produced entirely from fruit grown on their estate and for this wine, Véronque selects only barrels which have the utmost complexity, length, and depth and which will blend together seamlessly. It is no surprise that this wine is regularly included in lists of Oregon’s best wines, and it is even included in Paul Lukac’s 2006 book, Great Wines of America. The 2006 Laurène (their 15th vintage) is simply heavenly, with lush body, great depth, dark spice, and an endless finish. This Pinot is beautiful now, but will continue to develop for another five to ten years. It is $65 and we almost didn’t get it, as they are onto the next vintage, but we managed to snag the last six bottles at the distributor. Enjoy!
2006 Argyle Winery, Brut
Here’s another winery we featured recently, when we put the Argyle “Nuthouse” Pinot in the August club. And now, as they say, for something completely different. In our occasional effort to remind ourselves that this is not a Pinot Noir club, this month we present what is generally considered to be the best sparkling wine produced in Oregon (and some would say, in the country). And it is 42% Pinot Noir, so we’re not getting too out of line here. As we said in August, Argyle winemaker Rollin Soles has had wines ranked among the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World a record eleven times and in 2000, they named Argyle Oregon’s premier winery. Rollin has been producing a Brut since 1987 and, unlike many sparkling wines, his are always vintage dated. With 2006 being such an excellent vintage in Oregon, the fruit that went into this wine achieved exceptional structure and texture. Much of that fruit came from the high-elevation blocks of their Knudsen Vineyard, half of which was planted in the early 1970s, providing that classic, old-vine character. The rest comes from Lone Star Vineyard, a lower elevation, warmer site, where the light and heat are perfect for ripening fruit. Crisp and bright, with soft minerality and hints of toast, this sparkler would be a great opening act to your Thanksgiving dinner. Or try it with sushi! It is $25.