January 31, 2007

2004 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

The Willamette Valley is a pretty special place, holding very high esteem in the hearts of Pinot Noir lovers. It is one of those unique areas where the weather, the soil, and the winemaking talent come together in just the right way to make amazing wine. Consistently. Domaine Drouhin, Adlesheim, Panther Creek, Ken Wright, St. Innocent, King Estate, and Domaine Serene. These are just the ones that came to mind now, there are several others, but these wineries have put the Willamette Valley on the Pinot Noir map and the wines being produced here, including also Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Melon are award winning.

Ken and Grace Evenstad, originally from Minnesota, purchased the Domane Serene winery in 1989 to pursue their passion for great wine. They released their first wine, the Evenstad Reserve, in 1990 and this marked the first wine in a long list of consistently excellent vintages. They brought to the winery the best talent and the best winemaking practices, focusing on low yield vineyards producing only the best and most concentrated fruit. Their relentless care and attention to detail is enhanced by their very hands-on approach to creating their wines. The grapes are picked by hand, sorted by hand, and matured in the best French oak. The winery prefers an estate single-vineyard approach to their wines, with the wine being reviewed here, the Yamhill Cuvee, being from estate grown fruit from Yamhill County, Oregon.

This wine saw 13 months in French oak and is unfined and unfiltered. We opened and decanted it and saw a little bit of sediment. We let it sit for about 20 minutes. When we tasted we found the nose full and rich, with cranberry and cherry, hints of smoke, and a nice lingering sweetness... almost like cotton candy, but only very subtly. The nose is really enticing, and very complex. The palate showed very even plum and raspberry, a little bit of oak, and wonderful earthiness. Supremely elegant, medium bodied, balanced and with a soft finish... we loved this wine. Delicious. After tasting for a bit we thought we were smelling basil in the nose in a way that can best be described as fragrant.

I'll be honest. I have never been disappointed with a wine from Domaine Serene. They have always been worth the price... which is typically a little more than I want to spend but always find worth it. Consistently excellent and of top quality is a great way to summarize the reputation of the wines they produce.

cost - $34.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 9.5

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