2019 Domaine Drouhin, Pinot Noir “Laurène” Dundee Hills AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Always one of the most consistently excellent wines in the Willamette Valley, Domaine Drouhin’s Laurène Pinot is a star selection and always graceful in style, the 2019 is a lighter and more subtle vintage, but captures the terroir and year with a beautiful nuanced performance in the glass with bright and earthy red fruits, spice, delicate florals and a satiny texture. I believe I started trying Domaine Drouhin’s Laurène, a Reserve wine, with the legendary 1998 vintage and have ben a fan ever since, even in the off years this has been a tasty treat and a wine that really is rewarding with this season’s cuisine. The 2019 Laurène came in a tick under 14% and has a concentrated, but elegant mouth feel and a lively medium bodied palate of sweet cherry, plum, raspberry and tangy red currant fruits, along with a range of red and brown baking spices, warm oak and mineral tones, with everything folding together nicely in this substantial ruby/garnet hued Pinot, with a fine balance of its tannin and acidity. That said, I recommend giving this lively and taut wine some time to express itself fully and enjoy it with a meal. I also love the fact that the Laurène comes in half bottles too, which sometimes just the perfect amount, especially when you have an aperitif before the main course.

The Domaine Drouhin’s Laurène Pinot, which is named after Véronique Boss-Drouhin’s oldest daughter, Laurène, and is the flagship wine of the American arm of the famous Joseph Drouhin Burgundy producer, it is produced entirely from Pinot Noir grown on the family’s estate in the Dundee Hills, which is set on the classic Jory red (volcanic) soils. The grapes are, as the winery notes, handpicked into small totes, 100% de-stemmed, and traditionally fermented with indigenous yeasts, gently macerated and then pressed into French Oak barrels, with some new toasty ones included. Once the vintage is safely resting in the cellar, Véronique, who is an ever present and admired figure in the valley, begins the process of selecting her favorite barrels. Her choices form the core of this French inspired Laurène cuvée, with this group of hand picked barrels, according to the estate, having an extra degree of complexity, length, and depth. Véronique notes, her choice of barrels must will work well together to become the Laurène and this 2019, a tough year weather wise has turned out luxurious and delicious, making for a Pinot that is worth every penny and one that should drink nicely for another decade with ease. While not a blockbuster in terms of fruit density, there is everything you could ask for (in a Pinot Noir) and there is a regal pedigree that shines through here, it is impressive stuff.
($75 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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