Pinot Noir remains one of the trickiest varieties in the world. There are a host of reasons for this. It prospers in some areas and doesn’t do well at all in others. Sometimes a couple areas in question can be quite close to each other, relatively speaking. But aside from the regions and sub-regions where Pinot either thrives or not there are questions of intent. While there are folks passionate about just every grape in the world, Pinot Noir has a particularly dedicated legion of believers. The treatment of the grapes and the style it’s produced in garners as much praise or criticism as the location it’s from. For most of those passionate about Pinot that means things like restrained use of oak and wines that are 100% varietal to name but a couple. One of the regions in the world where Pinot Noir thrives and is produced in a variety of styles is Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Today I’ll look at a current release from Domaine Serene. The Domaine Serene 2008 Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir was produced using fruit sourced mostly from the winery’s estate vineyards in the Eola Hills and Dundee Hills. The fruit used is three distinct Pinot Noir Clones, Pommard (51%), Dijon (38%), and Wadenswil (11%). Barrel aging was accomplished over 12 months in French oak; 51% of the barrels were new. 7,500 cases of this wine were produced in the 2008 vintage and it has a suggested retail price of $42.
Aromas of red raspberry, wild strawberry and leather fill the nose of this 2008 Pinot Noir from Oregon. Throughout the palate black cherry, nutmeg and blueberry each play key roles. The middle of this wine is simply loaded with copious amounts of red and black fruit characteristics as well as equal amounts of spice. The lengthy finish shows off both black and white pepper as well as rhubarb, sour cherry, hints of cola and cedar. This wine has fairly firm tannins that yield with some aeration.
This 2008 Cuvée from Domain Serene is an excellent example of the world class Pinot Noir emerging from Oregon. If you like Pinot Noir pure and true to varietal, Oregon is certainly already on your go to list. I recommend making sure Domain Serene is one of the producers you look to. This wine is also a relative value in its price category. For best results, decant this wine for about 90 minutes.