2008 Domaine Drouhin, Laurène, Pinot Noir
This is the third year in a row we’ve featured a Pinot from this iconic Oregon producer. Domaine Drouhin was founded by the family of Burgundy’s Maison Joseph Drouhin, with the goal of producing great Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Dundee Hills, a site with a similar climate, latitude, and aspect to the vineyards of Burgundy. The young Véronique Drouhin, armed with a degree in enology from the University of Dijon, and the fourth generation of Drouhin winemakers, relocated to Oregon where she has produced all of the Drouhin wines, since their first vintage in 1988. Her wines are lauded, year after year, for their elegance, finesse, and ability to age gracefully. Laurène is named after her oldest daughter and is produced entirely from their estate fruit. For this cuvée, Véronique selects barrels that have an extra complexity, depth, and length, and blends them into this, their flagship wine. 2008 was an incredible vintage in Oregon, with a long, cool growing season that allowed for full ripeness, good acidity, and lower alcohol levels. This Pinot is deep and complex with an elegant, velvety richness. Although it could be enjoyed now, Véronique suggests giving it some cellar time (it could age for up to ten years), or at least 30 minutes in a decanter to allow the layers of smoke, earth, and white pepper to evolve. With its hints of black cherry, cassis, and currant, this Pinot would pair perfectly with poultry, ham, lamb, or pork. It is $65.
2008 Apolloni, Dolce Vino Viognier
We don’t often put half-bottles in the club, or dessert wines for that matter, but there’s no time like the holidays to break the rules and offer you a special treat: a truly delightful, ice-wine style Viognier. This one comes from Apolloni Vineyards, in Forest Grove, Oregon. The Apolloni family roots are in Tuscany, where their winemaking tradition dates back over 150 years. Today, Alfredo Apolloni continues his family’s winemaking tradition in Oregon, thanks to the great passion for winemaking he developed while working summers at the family estate in Italy. He and his wife bought what is now Apolloni Vineyards in 1999. They have since expanded their vineyards and their property, but the label still depicts the historic Apolloni family coat of arms. Alfredo’s wines show a definite Italian influence, although he also produces some wonderful Pinot Noirs that are all Oregon. And then there is this wine. In a class by itself, it is a deliciously aromatic and concentrated dessert wine with all of the floral, apricot, pear, and spice components of the Viognier, balanced by enough acidity to keep it nimble and fresh. While you could serve it on its own, as a fine way to end a meal, it would also be amazing with poached pears, or panna cotta. This 375ml bottle is $23.