wine of the week – 1992 domaine drouhin laurène

Friday, April 06, 2012

After almost seven years of shuffling wines back and forth between my homes at either end of the state, and a run of more than a year in which a large number of wines from my cellar were in storage in a Seattle locker, I have finally been able to consolidate everything in a new wine cellar in my home in Waitsburg.

The logistics of all this are irrelevant; what is most thrilling is that all the wines are in one place, and for the moment, still all jumbled up in packing boxes while I wait for the shelves to be installed.

Anyone who gardens in a region with cold winters knows that the ground heaves under certain conditions, literally throwing up things that have been buried, often for years. In much the same way, the boxes of wine brought over helter skelter from Seattle a few weeks ago are heaving up old bottles of wine, and some have proven to be irresistible.

This bottle of 1992 Domaine Drouhin Laurène Pinot Noir is the latest example. It was purchased by me upon release, probably in 1994, and kept in my cellar ever since. It is certainly one of the first, if not the very first vintage for this reserve offering.

I pulled the cork on it last night, at dinner with my friend Kevin Pogue and our wives. We were celebrating the start of a couple of excellent projects (which shall remain nameless for the moment), and decided to dine at the Whoopemup Café here in town. I brought along the bottle of DDO, hoping for the best.

It was better than that. As with some of the other, not quite as old Oregon Pinots I’ve opened in recent weeks, this wine was in superb condition. Quite alive, mature, complex, fragrant and deep, it breathed open quickly and held itself together throughout the course of more than an hour. As the last of it was consumed, the wine was nowhere near faded.

Although I have tasted and reviewed thousands upon thousands of Oregon Pinots over the years, I can’t think of another one that showed better at almost 20 years of age. It speaks to the skills of the Drouhin family, the power of the Red Hills terroir, and the ability of wines to survive a certain amount of jostling over the years. My friend Pogue called it truly Burgundian in the best sense, and I would have to agree. It was indeed a marvelous, almost miraculous wine.


Chris Wallace said...

+1 here on the DDO being age-worthy and Burgundian (in a good way). At Christmas lunch with my brother I brought a 2002 DDO Laurene and he a 2003 Houdelot Romanee St Vivant. We decided the wines were a tie; the Laurene perhaps slightly better to taste, but the Romanee St Vivant slightly better aromatics. Both wines were outstanding and had years in front of them.

ChefPludester said...

My wife & have been enjoying a bottle of DDO Laurene 1999 each year on our anniversary. Still outstanding. Last week we opened a DDO '02 Louise which was beyond fabulous-at 10 years, just hitting it's stride. Lush berry, complex, subtleties abounding. (The sommolier came by twice to look at it!)

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