Découverte! Discovering the Dundee Hills Vineyard for Maison Louis Jadot’s Oregon winery Résonance.
If you are reading this in time you can join us on Saturday morning December 19th at 11 am EST or bright and early at 8 am PST for a great Q&A discussion on Twitter. Just follow and use the hashtag #Winophiles to join the conversation.
I was lucky enough to receive this bottle of Résonance Découvert Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 thanks to Jennica at Kobrand Wine & Spirits
*I received this bottle as a media sample. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.*
Maison Louis Jadot
If you have tasted a French wine in the US, you have likely tasted a wine by Maison Louis Jadot. It is one of the most beloved French wine brands in the United States. You know the logo. You have seen it on countless wines from Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Beaujolais.
Maison Louis Jadot originated in Beaune France and produces wines from over 150 appellations in Bourgogne with 110 hectares in the Côte d’Or.
This renowned house was founded in 1859, which, coincidentally is the year that Oregon became a state. Of course, Oregon and Bourgogne share a latitude of 45 degrees.
In 2013 Maison Louis Jadot took their first steps outside of Bourgogne purchasing the Résonance Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Jacque Lardière the longtime Maison Louis Jadot winemaker, had recently retired and he and Thibault Gagney, whose family operates Maison Louis Jadot were off to find a bold new project. The vineyard already had a French name! Well, they did add the accent mark, but it was Kismet.
If you click the map to make it larger, you will find the Résonance vineyard. It is on the bottom half of the map near the center.
The Résonance vineyard had been planted in 1981 and it was own-rooted, which is rare. It is one of the oldest dry-farmed vineyards in the Willamette Valley, sitting between 262 and 492 feet in elevation. Their custom-built winery opened its doors in May of 2019. Our friends at AdVINEtures visited them a bit ago meeting with winemaker Guillaume Large.
But our story takes us beyond the Résonance Vineyard.
Découverte – Discovery in the Dundee Hills
The Dundee Hills are the historical heart of winemaking in the Willamette Valley. It was here that David Lett, Dick Erath, and the Sokol Blosser’s came to plant their vineyards.
David Lett’s Eyrie Pinot Noir caught the attention of the French in 1979 when it placed in the Top 3 in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiads. Domaine Drouhin took enough note to open their winery here in 1987.
In 2014 Maison Louis Jadot treaded into these red hills purchasing 18 acres with 8 acres of vineyard planted. This is the Découverte Vineyard. It sits at a much higher elevation than the Yamhill-Carlton property. The 15 acres now under vine sit between 600 and 690 feet above sea level. Most of this (12.5 acres) is planted to Pinot Noir, with the remaining to Chardonnay.
You will find them on the map on the right side 6th up from the bottom.
They call these the Red Hills because of the rich, red volcanic Jory soil. This soil comes from ancient volcanic basalt. It is iron-rich, not very fertile, and well-draining.
Résonance – Découverte Vineyard 2017 Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir is from the second Résonance Estate Vineyard, Découverte. Découverte means “Discovery” in French.
The 2017 Vintage saw late flowering due to a cold wet winter and spring. The summer, on the other hand, set a new record high in August. This vineyard is organically farmed.
This wine saw 17 months in French Oak barrels, 30% of which was new.
Medium ruby in color with a fuchsia rim.
The nose hits you first with rich warm spices, followed by red fruit. Notes of earth, integrated black fruits, cherry, and notes of mint.
Dry with medium tannins the mouth was rounded and savory on the first sip. Rich but elegant, bright tart cherry notes emerge, and medium tannins that unevenly coat your teeth.
The mineral finish is the give-away here that this is a Dundee Hills wine. Those red Jory soils shining through.
Keep in mind that this wine is young. This is a wine that will age and it will continue to evolve and grow more complex.
100% Pinot Noir – 13.5% abv – $65 SRP
A Classic Pairing – Oregon Pinot Noir and Salmon
We paired this with a classic Oregon Pinot pairing, salmon. We did have a Mediterranean twist adding a honey-harissa glaze. We added sides of slaw with cabbage and apple and pan-roasted summer squash.
I was a little skeptical of the harissa glaze. Harissa is a Tunisian spice blend, usually made in a paste from dried chili peppers, spices, olive oil, and garlic. The peppers range from smoky to hot and the spices are often toasted. Our harissa was powdered rather than in paste form and it had a smokiness from roasted peppers and spices. While there was a little heat on when tasted on its own, we were mixing it with honey to glaze the salmon, which I hoped would tone down the heat and elevate the smoky notes.
Would it work with the wine? It did. The harissa and honey pulled out the spice notes in the wine and the wine did not elevate the heat in the harissa. Our other dishes, the apple and cabbage slaw, and the pan-roasted summer squash played background to the salmon but blended seamlessly with the wine.
Is it crazy to think that the color of the harissa brings to mind the color of the dirt in the Dundee Hills. Is that why it connects so well with this Découverte Vineyard Pinot Noir?
I am looking forward to reading all the pieces by my fellow writers in the French #Winophiles! There is so much knowledge and a diversity of viewpoints within this group so I am anxious to hear their thoughts! Dive in and give these a read!
Participating #Winophile Food & Wine Pairings:
Melanie from Wining With Mel tells us “New World meets Old World: Oregon’s Résonance pinot noir paired with beef bourguignon”
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator shares “From France’s Bourgogne and Oregon’s Willamette Valley: Domaine Drouhin Does Pinot Noir #Winophiles
Jill at L’Occasion covers “Bourgogne’s Western Vineyards: Crafting Pinot Noir in Oregon”
And Michelle, of Rockin Red Blog, shared a post on Forbes for this topic: Best Of Both Worlds: Burgundy Producers Craft High-Quality Wine In Willamette Valley.
The Oregon Wine Board and the Oregon Wine Symposium 2021
I have to give a shout out to the Oregon Wine Board. Their site is full of great information on Oregon, its soils, vineyards, and wines. It really is my go-to place for information on Oregon when I am doing research.
The Oregon Wine Symposium is a wine education and trade show that they produce annually for the Northwest Wine Industry. In 2021 it will be virtual, held online from February 16 to 19th.
Visit their site for information.
Sources and Resources
More on the Willamette Valley from Crushed Grape Chronicles
We are in the midst of our 12 Days of Wine 2020 celebration at Crushed Grape Chronicles! We invite you to join us as we taste and pair a wine each day leading up to Christmas. Great wines from around the world with the stories behind them, plus recipes and pairings including Dessert!
You can visit the page to catch up on what you have missed! Crushed Grape Chronicles 12 Days of Wine 2020
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.