By Chris Gill
Many wine drinkers tend to overlook the excellent Chardonnay wines that come from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and only consider that area’s fine Pinot Noir wines, even though it’s pretty well known that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes both grow well in similar conditions and terrain. Domaine Drouhin’s Arthur Chardonnay is a good example of just how great Willamette Valley Chardonnay wines can be, especially their impressive 2009 vintage bottling, which is one of the best Arthur Chardonnays that Domaine Drouhin has produced since its 1996 debut.
Arthur is a blend of Chardonnay produced using two different fermentation methods, with half of the wine produced in stainless steel tanks and the other half fermented in French oak barrels, with 20 percent new oak used for the 2009 vintage. As a result the wine delivers crisp fruit flavors of green apple, lemon, and pear, and sharp acidity that results from steel tank fermentation combined with a hint of the mellow vanilla overtones and subtle spiciness of oak. These characteristics make the 2009 Arthur a great match for raw oysters, grilled pork, and delicate fish, shellfish, or poultry dishes with rich cream sauces.
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