AWG Correspondent

Rob Boss

Domaine Drouhin Photos

Domaine Drouhin Review

Regions: Willamette Valley AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: July 18, 2012 by Rob Boss
Published: July 30, 2012

Walking into the tasting room of Domaine Drouhin Oregon is probably as close to entering a chateau you can come, outside of France. Maison Drouhin’s 125 years of winemaking history is almost palpable and although the surroundings are rich, even opulent, there’s nothing ostentatious or even ornate. The tasting room is bright, warm, full of light wood and windows. Domaine Drouhin is simply beautiful.

The same could also be said of their wines. Fourth generation winemaker Veronique Drouhin balances Old World tradition with New World exuberance. While the Oregon fruit might produce a more fruit forward wine compared to what she makes in France, Ms. Drouhin’s signature is a long, captivating finish. It’s a prominent factor in her reds but notable in the Chardonnay as well. While not overbearing in any sense, these wines insist on attention. As the song goes, “A thing of beauty is not to be ignored.”

Breaking from French tradition, Veronique named a wine after her son. (Wines are named after daughters, not sons, which she also did: Lauréne and Louise.) The 2010 Arthur Chardonnay throws out a nose full of bright golden apples, pears and lemon zest. It’s full of bright, vibrant peaches, nectarines and green apples. The flavors are focused and specific, which makes for a great wine for a beginner to learn from but the most savvy wine drinkers will love it, too.

Although considerably simpler, the 2011 Rosé is a delicious quaffer full of fresh strawberry aromas and flavors, with just a little bit of pink grapefruit. Again, the flavors are clearly defined, not the broad brush stroke of most rosés.

From here we moved to the 2010 Pinot Noir, which is what this winery is all about. 2010 was a cooler year that produced some of Oregon’s most delicate Pinot, and the Drouhins are in their element. The nose quietly but emphatically imparts fresh, dusty cherry and raspberry, briars and lilac. On the palette there were raspberries and cherries galore, and a long raspberry finish that is Veronique’s calling card. This wine is an elegant, refined classic that captivates the taster.

This is where it becomes a matter of taste, because the 2008 Lauréne was supposed to be the flagship of the tasting room. In many ways it was, and for most tasters it probably will be. It’s very fresh and floral, full of cherries, berries, rhubarb and white pepper. There’s an explosion of fresh and dried cherries, cassis and black plums on the palette. It’s the explosion part that differentiates it from its younger sister, and attracts a particular audience. 2008 was warmer and vintages are that different. While no less refined than the 2010, the fruit flavors are riper, bolder, more intense. Burgundy fans will prefer the 2010, while California and New Zealand lovers will go for the 2008. Neither camp will turn either one down.

At the end of the flight, the tasting room worker asked, “Would you like to revisit any of the wines?” If ever there was a place that a taster would thrill to hear those words, it’s Domaine Drouhin Oregon.

Address & Contact Information: 6750 Breyman Orchards Rd. Dayton, Oregon 97114. Telephone: 503-864-2700, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Wed-Sun 11:00-4:00.

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