Saturday, June 3, 2023

Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and grilled beefsteak

Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and grilled beefsteak

Beautiful Saturday night dine-in on the deck, we grilled a Cowboy Tomahawk Ribeye beefsteak, served with roasted potatoes, grilled onions and fresh vege plate. In light of the 90 degree temp weather, I pulled from our cellar an aged vintage Pinot Noir as an accompaniment, offering something lighter and more approachable than a full throttle Bordeaux varietal. 

This turned out to be a perfect pairing accentuating the enjoyment of both the wine and the dinner. In addition to the beefsteak with grilled onions, the effervescence of the wine was especially amplified by the robust tomatoes and a side of sourdough bread with honey butter!  

Readers of these pages know we typically favor Bordeaux varietal wines but on occasions such as this we will turn to Burgundy. Part of tonight's selection was also inspired by the fabulous memorable Vosne Romanee Burgundy Pinot we had at our Pour Boys Winers and Diners dinner the other night

This is one of the select few Pinots that we collect and hold in our cellar and I pulled this aged thirteen year old, the oldest vintage as part of proper cellar rotation management, which we'll likely replace with a current vintage as part of maintaining this vertical collection. 

This particular label has some special significance since Linda and I discovered it at a memorable outing during one of our get-away weekends to Chicago. We had a bottle at Smith & Wollensky sitting outside overlooking the Chicago River for a summer afternoon wine, salad and cheese interlude. Its been a favorite ever since. 

This is from producer Domaine Serene, whose owner proprietors Grace and Ken Evenstad who, after 20 years building a successful business in Minnesota, settled in the Oregon Willamette Valley in 1989. They acquired a 42-acre hilltop estate that had just been logged in the Dundee Hills with the intent of growing and producing world-class Burgundian style Pinot Noir. They established Domaine Serene, naming the winery after their daughter, Serene, and their first vineyard on the estate after their son, Mark Bradford Evenstad.

Today, the Evenstad's land holdings have grown to over 1,000 acres, more than 360 of which are planted to vine in three AVAs of the Willamette Valley.

Domaine Serene produces wines from six individual vineyard estates, planted exclusively to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Each estate offers a diversity of soils, clones, rootstocks, microclimates, slopes and elevations that add distinguishing complexity and elegance to the wines.

Since the first vintage in 1990, Domaine Serene has produced award-winning wines, including this Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, recognized as the World’s #3 Wine of 2013 by Wine Spectator Magazine.

Their 2012 Winery Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir was named the Top Pinot Noir in the World by Decanter magazine in 2016. The 2014 Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay received 95 points and was ranked the #2 wine in the world on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year. As a result, Domaine Serene became the only winery in the world to receive a Top 3 rating in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Over the years, Domaine Serene’s wines have produced 200 wines scoring 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator.

In 2017, the 2013 Domaine Serene Jerusalem Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir was awarded the Top American Pinot Noir at the Decanter World Wine Awards. 

Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010

This label release is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from eight of the estate vineyards of the 142 acre estate in the Dundee Hills AVA of which 84 acres are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the oldest vines dating to 1993. The vineyard sits at an elevation of 520-825 feet in the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley. 

This release was rated 95 points by Wine Spectator and was #3 Wine of the Year, Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2013, 93 points by Wine Advocate and 92 points by Wine Enthusiast, the highest-scoring Evenstad to that date.

6,000 cases were produced. 

Winemaker Notes - "Wonderfully complex wine that delivers an array of red fruits, caramel, baking spice, vanilla, dried flowers, and potpourri. On the palate, this elegant wine shows a harmonious balance of structure, richness and acidity with soft tannins and a clean, lingering finish."

Wine Spectator said to drink through 2020, Wine Advocate in 2015 said it drink it over the next decade (through 2025), and I believe it is at near the end of the apex of its drinking window, not likely to improve further with aging, time to enjoy!

Despite the soiled label, importantly, the fill level and cork were in ideal condition

Bright ruby colored, medium bodied, vibrant expressive black raspberry and plum fruits with sprites of cherry, cinnamon spice, black tea and hints of graphite and what Advocate called 'bay leaf', with a long tangy finish. 

RM 92 points.