Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013

domaine-drouhin-pinot-noir-willamette-valleyThe Drouhin family, a mainstay of Burgundian winemaking since 1880 under the Maison Joseph Drouhin banner, waited about 100 years to extend its reach to the west coast of America. It was 1998 when Robert Drouhin, third generation namesake of the family business, first produced “Domaine Drouhin” wine in the States.

Today, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, of the Willamette Valley, crafts the understated, terroir-steeped wines – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – that Burgundian domaines are world-renown for. Burgundy it is not, but the wines display the enviable traits (acidity, balance, earthiness) of Old World techniques, soils and climate.

Partly because of the winery’s sterling reputation but also due to the rarity of affordable Oregon Pinot around these parts, I was a little surprised to see the Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013 appear on the PLCB Chairman’s Selection list. Previously available only in western sections of the state, the wine has just recently appeared in Philly area stores.

Do not wait on this offer: Find a bottle very soon and, to that point, let’s discuss its merits.

Ruby-tinted and lighter bodied, its spice and fruit-filled aromas rise confidently from the first pour. As with any wine that conveys traits of its vineyard, the Drouhin builds slowly and takes a path of suggestion over imposition – its flavors evolving every couple minutes or so. It’s insistently mushroom-earthy, and you’ll also find a light touch of cream, red fruit and a dry-ish finish. Red fruit you ask? Why, yes. Let’s talk bright cherry. Pomegranate. Strawberry. Pucker and delight.

OK, put the glass down and go do the dishes.

Now, put the fruit aside and focus on the firm acidity, the earthy base. The light kiss of oaky (French oak, natch) spice. Is that a touch of smoke? Point being, there’s complexity.

Good intensity is maintained with every sip, and the wine’s acidity keeps company with food. For us, it was excellently matched – after a one-hour decant – with a meal of barbecue chicken with grilled marinated mushrooms and corn.

At $20 in Pennsylvania, the Drouhin is automatic. You’ll be rewarded with its fine, firm edge – at a very reasonable price. Kind of like finding a stash of Laguiole cutlery at the local TJ Maxx.

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