The French touch in Oregon
The art of making wine, like music, goes beyond national borders
A new country, climate and terroir to discover. Will it deliver the same quality wines that Maison Joseph Drouin has been producing in Burgundy for 100 years? Thirty years ago, Robert Drouhin took this leap of faith. But he backed it up with tried-and-true principles: the pursuit of excellence, curiosity, an appreciation of core values, passion and respect for the terroir.
The Discovery of Oregon
As the manager of Maison Joseph Drouhin, which was founded by his grandfather, Robert first visited Oregon in 1961, long before there were vines planted in the Willamette Valley. Nearly 20 years later, he would taste excellent Pinot Noir from Oregon, and in 1986, Véronique trained with three pioneering Oregon wine families. In 1987, the Drouhins bought land in the Dundee Hills, 30 miles Southwest of Portland, and so the adventure began.
Robert Drouhin and his four children have deep respect and enthusiasm for the Oregon wine community. The relationships that have been built over the years are as deeply rooted as their vines.
Then, on a beautiful summer’s day…
The pivotal moment was undoubtedly the day in July 1987 when Véronique and Robert surveyed some exceptionally beautiful land that would become Domaine Drouhin Oregon. This plot, which had previously been used for growing wheat and Christmas trees, was planted to Burgundian varieties. Today, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown here are considered among the best in the world. Véronique was appointed as the estate’s oenologist at the age of 24, while her brother Philippe was put in charge of viticulture. And the rest of the family story is found in the wines. Véronique even named some of her fine products after her children. Laurène is a Pinot Noir with smoky and earthy notes, as well as orange peel and white pepper on the nose, and excellent aging potential. Arthur is a delicate and pure Chardonnay with crisp acidity and fabulously mineral character. Finally, Louise is also a Pinot Noir known for its elegance and rarity. Since Galleon already represented the fine wines made by Maison Joseph Drouin, it was only natural that we would become the representative for the fine wines produced at their American operations.
The winning formula
The Drouhins used the same traditional growing methods in America as they have used in France for generations, including high-density planting for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Vinification takes place in a superb four-level winery built in the heart of the vineyard. It houses oak barrels—French oak, of course. The Dundee Hills estate now has 50 planted hectares, and in 2013 the family acquired Roserock Vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills, also in the Willamette Valley, effectively doubling the size of their land holdings, and allowing the Drouhins to continue their focus on producing the finest wines from extraordinary vineyards.