The 12 Days of Pinot Noir heads back to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. When I visited, a few years back, both the wines and the setting at Domaine Serene were impressive. The Estate itself was easily one of the most beautiful settings I visited tasting wine in Oregon. Domaine Serene is dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with 150 acres under vine and planted to those two varietals. They also produce Syrah & Viognier under the “Roadblock” label from sourced fruit. Today I’ll take a look at two of their current release Pinot Noirs. First up is the Domaine Serene 2007 Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir. This offering is produced from fruit primarily sourced at two estate vineyard sites in Eola Hills and Dundee Hills. Three clones of Pinot are included (Pommard, Dijon & Wadenswil). Barrel aging was accomplished over 10 months in French oak; 43% of the barrels were new. The suggested retail price for this offering is $42.
Lavender, violets and red cherry aromas highlight the expressive nose of this 2007 Pinot Noir. Throughout the palate cranberry plays a large role supported by rhubarb and raspberry. The flavors throughout the palate are gentle, full flavored and layered. Loads of spice note are present and emerge as the wine opens up in the glass; vanilla and light nutmeg are particularly noteworthy. Black pepper, mineral elements and moderate cola notes all emerge on the lengthy finish. This Pinot has excellent acidity.
The second wine up is the Domaine Serene 2006 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir. The fruit for this release is sourced from estate vineyards in the Eola Hills (59%) and Dundee Hills (41%). Barrel aging was accomplished over 15 months in French oak; 48% of the barrels were new. The suggested retail price for this release is $58.
The nose of the Evenstad Reserve gives off hints of candied cherry as well as charred wood reference points. Throughout the full flavored palate there is a persistent core of rich fruit; cherry, blackberry and strawberry are prominent. These form a berry pie component that’s complemented by plum pudding spice notes and sweet dark chocolate. Black tea and cherry cola characteristics underwritten by vanilla bean are each part of the excellent, lingering and quite noteworthy finish. This Pinot has excellent structure and terrific racy acidity.
I found that each of these Pinot’s is terrific in its own right. What they have in common is that they are well made and true to their varietal. The Evenstad is a bit richer and fuller where the Yanhill Cuvée is a touch gentler in style and approach. I’d be happy to have either on my table at any time and each should drink well for approximately 6-8 years. If you're drinking now, decanting will benefit both of these, the Evenstad a bit more dramatically. A nice job by Domaine Serene on these wines. Definitely a producer to look up if you visit Willamette Valley.