Wine enthusiasts often eagerly seek out the newest “hot” producer of domestic Pinot Noir, hoping to be one of the first to spread the word after experiencing the pubescent winery’s first wines. Real connoisseurs of Pinot Noir know that proven wineries that have stood the test of time with consistently world-class Pinot Noir production are ones to focus on. Domaine Drouhin Oregon (DDO), is a perfect example. DDO, owned by Maison Joseph Drouhin, was the first Burgundy house to make wine outside of France in 1988, and continues today as a significant Burgundy presence in Oregon and the New World.
Robert Drouhin, struck by the resemblance of the Willamette Valley to the Côte d’Or, and by David Lett’s 1975 The Eyrie Vineyards South Block Reserve Pinot Noir that placed second in a 1979 blind tasting of French burgundies versus their American Pinot Noir counterparts in 1979, initiated the purchase by Maison Joseph Drouhin of 100 acres in the Dundee Hills overlooking the town of Dundee.
Robert chose his daughter, Veronique, to direct the new project in Oregon. She oversaw the initial planting of vineyards at DDO in 1988, and crafted the first three vintages, 1988-1990, from purchased grapes. More land was acquired, and today there are 225 estate acres, 124 of which are densely planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 1989, a four-level gravity-fed winery was constructed, the first of its kind in Oregon.