Sunday, January 19, 2014

2008 Domaine Drouhin Oregon "Arthur" chardonnay

It's remarkable, the way every chardonnay now becomes a learning experience thanks to the Puligny that puzzled us. Our newest is from Oregon's Dundee Hills, and is made by the legendary Burgundian producer Maison Joseph Drouhin's side operation (to put it simply), Domaine Drouhin Oregon, or DDO as it refers to itself on the website. From its founding in France in the 1880s, Maison Joseph Drouhin has been a family operation. Patriarch Joseph passed everything on to Maurice, who passed it on to Robert, who bought land in Oregon in the late 1980s and whose daughter, Véronique, has made every pinot noir and chardonnay at DDO for twenty years. The wines Laurène, Louise, and Arthur are in turn named for her children.   

bright yellow gold 
apples, caramel
light, fresh, gentle
not a Puligny...

... by which we mean, not a scorching throatful of (French, cool climate) acid, but also not a goblet of (California, warm climate) buttered banana-caramel fudge, either. Very delicious.

I do believe an open bottle of an excellent  chardonnay is the nicest wine to come back to on a second or even a third night of sipping. When they are good, they seem to keep their character best. Red wines develop into such thick doses of cough syrup by the second night, while other white wines seem to lose the edges and definitions of their flavor, just as Mr. Pope would say "soft yielding minds to Water glide away," and I say if you can't quote The Rape of the Lock in a wine blog, when can you quote it? Canto I, line 61. Sparkling wines of course lose everything. Chardonnays endure, when they are very good. Could this durability be another reason why so many wine drinkers, cautious Nymphs for a variety of reasons (and no, I don't want you tossing off a whole bottle in one night by yourself), like them so much?

For when the Fair in all their pride expire, 
To their first Elements their Souls retire: 
The Sprites of fiery Termagants in Flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to Water glide away, 
And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea. 
The graver Prude sinks downward to a Gnome, 
In search of mischief still on Earth to roam.
The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair, 
And sport and flutter in the fields of Air. 

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