It’s hard to believe I never tasted Domaine Drouhin’s Laurène Pinot Noir. Trips to Dundee Hills in the Willamette and Beaune yes, yet I’ve only enjoyed a few of Maison Joseph Drouhin French wines. Today I share a first, a rare pleasure to receive a Burgundian-tied wine from my former home (Oregon) via the winery’s Burgundy operation.
My not tasting Laurène wasn’t due to lack of desire!
In fact, a year ago I brought a bottle of it back from the US but the wine rack holding it just for the night (I would share it at a gathering the following day) fell; it was one of several casualties. Thus, I was rather excited about receiving this wine- a first taste!
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The Winophiles group is ending the year exploring domaines with holdings in both Oregon and Burgundy. Our Pinot Noir loving host Lyn Archer, shares a brief overview in Oregon and Bourgogne Tied Houses. Take a look at the end of this article for several others including spectacular food pairings with these superb wines.
“They were the first Burgundians in Oregon, and like all trailblazers they found it hard. Thirty years later, Véronique Boss-Drouhin is producing some of the finest American Pinot and Chardonnay.” Adam Lechmere via Club Oenologique talking about Maison Joseph Drouhin
The Drouhin family and winery also have a few firsts:
- The first three vintages of Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir (1988-1990) were made from grapes the family purchased.
- Robert Drouhin hired the first female oenologist to work at his oenological laboratory.
- The first vintage of Laurène Pinot Noir (1992) was the year Véronique Boss-Drouhin had her first child for whom the wine is named. She was named winemaker that year and also the winemaker of Domaine Joseph Drouhin in Beaune. She’s the fourth generation to make wine there and the first female.
From Beaune to the Willamette
Some 140 years ago Monsieur Joseph Drouhin founded a winery in Beaune, France, buying grapes or juice from growers and making his own wine as a negociant. His son Maurice took over in 1918. Not happy with the blending of grapes from other French regions (this diluted the quality of Bourgogne wines and the region as a whole), he purchased vineyards to launch a family winery.
Wanting to increase quality in the region, he helped establish the governing body of French wine (Institut of National des Appellations d’Origine).
With business savvy, he established a distribution company and also waded through WWII Nazi politics. Having an underground cellar saved many wines during that war.
Following in his father’s quality footsteps, Maurice’s son Robert took over in the late 50’s buying additional vineyard plots in Bourgogne and Chablis. He was an early adopter of culture raisonnée, eliminating pesticides and other chemicals. Today Maison Joseph Drouhin is certified both organic and biodynamic.
It was Robert, an avid traveler and lover of wine, who purchased 100 acres (40 hectares) of vineyard land in the Willamette Valley in 1989. Today they have 130 acres (53 hectares) planted to vines on their 230 acre estate.
DDO in the Willamette
Boss-Drouhin is also a traveler, making the trip from Beaune to their Dundee Hills property several times a year. She is assisted by her three brothers and staff at DDO (Domaine Drouhin Oregon).
What her father brought with him to the Willamette that she carries with her today is the same curiosity and quest for quality that elevated the Beaune operation to a world-class level. Some of these include:
Organic agriculture methods; they are LIVE certified and operate in an almost completely sustainable manner.
Growing, grafting and planting rootstocks all from blocks on the Dundee property to make sure only those suited to their specific topography are used to maintain high quality.
Harvesting by hand and only natural ferments (using yeasts on the grapes from the vineyard).
Use of French oak barrels, made in Burgundy of course!
I’m fascinated by the Drouhin story and went down a rabbit hole reading about them. Even without tasting most of their wine, I know that what’s in the glass today is about history, people, values and passion. Now let’s taste the wine!
Disclosure: This wine was provided as a media sample. Compensation was not received and all thoughts are my own.
Domaine Drouhin Laurène Pinot Noir | Dundee Hills | 2016
Gorgeous ruby red color. Red and black cherry, hibiscus, forest wood and smoky humus aromas. It fills the mouth with plums, a touch of cranberry and spice hints. It’s juicy and energetic yet after sitting a bit becomes silky soft with fine-grained medium tannins and immaculate balance. Medium+ acidity. Medium+ finish. You can drink now or wait a few years+ for secondary flavors to develop. Alcohol: 14.%. Suggested price: $75.
Marks two word descriptor: Balance and elegance
Beans, vegetables and/or protein dishes with an earthy element would work nicely. Or you can try this Chicken Marsala dish I riffed on from Half Baked Harvest. I had just picked up fresh Chanterelles, had sweet potatoes and a quarter bottle of Loupiac Sauternes on hand, so was going with those instead of white mushrooms, potatoes and Marsala. I also used plain kefir instead of heavy cream and subbed olive oil for half of the butter. The end result was a lighter dish with deep earthy flavors. You know the ones I’m talking about?!? A bite and a sip took me to that place- you close your eyes and think about the spectacular flavors while listening to Haley Reinhart from Postmodern Jute box belt out the vocals in All About That Bass. See recipe below.
A huge thank you to Domain Drouhin for providing the sample bottle. They also own Roserock Winery and Véronique is the consulting winemaker for Cloudline Cellars, both located in the Willamette. If you happen to be in France, you can get this wine at Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune.
French Winophiles End 2020 With Oregon and Bourgogne Tied Houses
Join us Saturday, December 19th at 8 am pacific / 17:00 CET (France) for a chat on Twitter using the #Winophiles hashtag.
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm tells of “Countries United Through Food and Wine”
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Galette au Chou + 2017 Résonance Pinot Noir”
Terri at Our Good Life tells tells us about “Resonance Pinot Noir and Roasted Pork Loin”
Here at Savor the Harvest I share “Oregon Pinot Noir With a Burgundian Heart – Domaine Drouhin Laurène”
Jennifer at Vino Travels cooks up “BBQ Brisket with Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir”
Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Oregon PN for a PNW holiday meal: A Résonance”
Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles has a discovery: “Découverte! Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Dundee Hills and Mediterranean Salmon” #Winophiles
David from Cooking Chat “Braised Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Oregon Pinot #Winophiles
Jane from Always Ravenous has an “Oregon Pinot Noir Paired with Braised Chicken Thighs, Blackberries, and Fennel Purée”
Melanie from Wining With Mel tells us “New World meets Old World: Oregon’s Résonance pinot noir paired with beef bourguignon”
Liz from What’s In That Bottle shares a “Taste of the 45th Parallel”
Jeff from Food Wine Click! tells us about “Louis Jadot on Both Sides of the Pond”
Payal from Keep the Peas shares “Burgundy via Oregon”
Nicole at SommsTable has a “Burgundy vs Oregon Showdown with Drouhin Wines”
Jill at L’Occasion covers “Bourgogne’s Western Vineyards: Crafting Pinot Noir in Oregon”
Gwen from Wine Predator shares “From France’s Bourgogne to Oregon’s Willamette Valley: Domaine Drouhin does Pinot Noir” #Winophiles
Michelle from Rockin Red Blog takes on “Best Of Both Worlds: Burgundy Producers Craft High-Quality Wine in Willamette Valley”
Cindy from Grape Experiences offers “Résonance Wines Express a Burgundian Vibe in the Willamette Valley”
Our host, L.M. Archer shares life “À Table with Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Résonance Wines”
- 6 chicken cutlets, or 2 chicken breasts cut in half horizontally (see note)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons oil (I like to use avocado as it has a high heat point but use what you like)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional, see #3 and 4 below)
- 3 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used chanterelles but cremini, button or shiitake are fine too)
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¾ cup sauternes style wine (the original recipe used marsala wine)
- ½ to ¾ cup plain keifer or plain yogurt
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour and garlic powder in a bowl, mix to evenly combine; put chicken in mixture, turning a few times to coat then set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Optional- Add 1 tablespoon butter and allow the butter to brown around the chicken, about 2 minutes. Remove chicken from the fry pan.
- Turn heat down to medium then, to the fry pan, add 2 tablespoons oil and the mushrooms. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes turning only once or twice. You want them to be golden. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt, pepper and a bit more oil of necessary. (Optional: Add 2 tablespoons butter when you add these items). Cook 4-5 minutes, until shallots are soft. Add the balsamic vinegar. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms have caramelized. Spoon half the mushrooms out of the skillet and onto the plate with the chicken.
- Add the wine and the broth. Cook 10-15 minutes until reduced slightly, then stir in the kefir. Add the chicken to the skillet and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until warmed through. Spoon the reserved mushrooms over the chicken.
- Serve the chicken and sauce over mashed sweet potatoes. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley.
For other articles, news and info visit the Drouhin Oregon website.