By Lawrence B. Johnson
Since its founding in 1989, Domaine Serene in Oregon’s Willamette Valley has emerged as one of the top producers of Pinot Noir in a region famous for that wine. In a horizontal tasting with friends of four different Domaine Serene bottlings from the 2011 vintage, it became readily apparent why this house continues to enjoy such high esteem.
Domaine Serene, named for the daughter of owners Ken and Grace Evenstad, sprang to life when the Evenstads purchased 42 recently logged acres atop the Dundee Hills in Yamhill County, Willamette Valley. The couple produced their first Pinot Noir the next year, and the accolades were immediate. The enterprise has traced an upward trajectory ever since.
From the start, Domaine Serene has fashioned its Pinot Noir on the Burgundian model of elegant, medium-bodied wine with a deep core of concentrated flavors. (The couple recently purchased Château de la Crée in Burgundy’s heartland, the Côte d’Or, including vineyards in several famous appellations.) The four Serene wines I just tasted, from the Willamette Valley, reflected Domaine Serene’s broad mix of single-vineyard and blended Pinot Noirs. It was a rewarding exploration. Read the full story »