Twenty-six years after Robert Drouhin purchased land in Oregon to make Pinot Noir, another Burgundy négociant has invested in a vineyard there.
Louis Jadot announced last week it had bought Resonance Vineyard from Kevin and Carla Chambers. Jadot president Pierre-Henry Gagey said everything came together and it was an opportunity he just couldn't miss.
Jacques Lardière, who retired from Jadot last year after making wines from 42 harvests, will make the wine.
The 32-acre Resonance property currently has 19 acres of Pinot Noir and 1.5 acres of Gewürztraminer. There are old vines; some of them, dating from 1981, are ungrafted. Lardière told me they would likely graft the Gewürztraminer to Pinot Noir after the harvest. He's not sure what he will bottle yet from the Pinot grapes and will determine that once he sees the results of the vintage.
The vineyard has been farmed sustainably since 1990, with lots of organic and biodynamic experimentation. Located in the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA, it has both shale- and basalt-based soils and is well-protected by the surrounding ridge and the Coast Range. It's south-facing, warm and dry.
When Drouhin arrived in Oregon, there were less than 50 wineries crushing fruit in the Willamette Valley. Véronique Drouhin, who has been making the wines at Domaine Drouhin Oregon noted that it confirmed her father's vision in Oregon's potential. She is pleased her friend Gagey has joined them in Willamette Valley (Gagey's son worked the 2012 Oregon harvest at Drouhin).
It's a different scene today, with nearly 500 wineries in the state. So Jadot's impact will be smaller, but important nonetheless.
David Adelsheim, who was instrumental in the 1987 Drouhin purchase said recently the alignment they had hoped would take place between Oregon and Burgundy after DDO never happened. There have been consulting arrangements—notably Dominique Lafon at Evening Land and Louis-Michel Liger-Belair at Chapter 24—but they too have been recent.
"It's great news for Oregon," said Adelsheim. "With two of the important Burgundy négociants now in Oregon, it underlines our claim to Pinot Noir."
It will also provide Lardière with a new challenge. After making wines from well over 100 appellations in Burgundy, he can focus on one vineyard.
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco — August 27, 2013 12:19pm ET
Michael Haley — Eugene, OR — August 27, 2013 6:01pm ET
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