1996 Domaine Drouhin "Cuvée Laurène" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #320385 92 points John Gilman

 The 1996 vintage of Cuvée Laurène from DDO certainly underscores the fact that when Véronique Drouhin-Boss says she is making a barrel selection for this wine based on its potential longevity, she is not kidding, as the 1996 version is still a tad on the young side! The wine is outstanding and will drink with style and grace in a few more years, but it is still not quite ready for primetime today. The bouquet is a complex blend of dark berries, black plums, bonfire, a touch of clove-like spices, incipient notes of gamebird, mustard seed and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, tightly-knit and still plenty tangy, with a rock solid core, modest tannins and impressive length and grip on the still fairly primary finish. Much like the 1996 vintage in Burgundy, this bottle is aging as much on its acidity as its remaining tannins and is taking its sweet time to reach its zenith! 2020-2050.  (7/2017)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium red. Floral, aromatic nose of raspberry, red cherry and strawberry. Silky-sweet and suave, with enticing, tangy flavors of red berry preserves and cherry. Firm but nicely integrated acids. Finishes with even tannins and very good length. This offers remarkable thickness for the vintage.  (3/2000)

Wine Spectator

 Gentle, refined style, offering a nice range of pretty plum, earth and toast aromas and flavors that linger on the silky frame. Coming together nicely in a decidedly Burgundian style. (HS)  (3/2000)

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Price: $59.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Highly touted for its Pinot Noirs, Oregon is part of the up-and-coming winemaking industry in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Most of Oregon is directly affected by the climate coming off of the Pacific Ocean, giving it mild winters and wet summers. This makes it a difficult place to ripen grapes, but some say that the harder grapes have to struggle, the more complex they will turn out to be. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are two important and successful grapes grown in Oregon.