Winery’s 2014 Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay Garners First-Ever Top-10 Wine of the Year Recognition For An Oregon Chardonnay;
Only Winery To Achieve Top-3 Recognition For Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the Year
The Wine Spectator magazine announced today that Domaine Serene 2014 Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay has been ranked #2 Wine of the Year in their list of the Top 100 Wines of Year, making it their top-ranked white wine of 2016. Domaine Serene’s achievement at the head of this prestigious collection of leading wineries from around the world is yet another major accolade for the Oregon wine region, which has risen to elite status among international wine critics during the past two decades as both a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer.
A passion to produce exquisite Pinot Noir led Ken and Grace Evenstad to Oregon in 1989. When the time came to pursue their longtime dream of planting vineyards and producing world-class Pinot Noir, they invested in a 42-acre hilltop estate property that had just been logged in the Dundee Hills of Oregon. Today, 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. The Eevenstads insist on dry-farming their low-yielding, LIVE certified-sustainable vineyards, ensuring maximum expression of complexity and balance in the fruit. In 2001, they completed construction of their picturesque, state-of-the art, five-level, gravity flow winery that was built to over-vintage wines in barrel while also holding up to three vintages in bottle prior to release. Guided by an unwavering commitment to quality, philanthropy and multi-generational sustainability, the Evenstads have garnered global recognition as iconic producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Commenting on the announcement, winery owner and co-founder Grace Evenstad noted the progress Oregon has made with Chardonnay since she established Domaine Serene with her husband in 1989. “Wine growers around the world work hard every day to reach the highest potential for their particular terroir and wine style,” she said. “We are happy to see the quality of our Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay recognized by the Wine Spectator. It validates our belief in Oregon as one of the very best places on the planet for producing world-class Chardonnay.”
Domaine Serene’s primary focus has always been creating preeminent Pinot Noir, but after coming to see the region’s quality potential in their first Chardonnay release of the 1997 vintage, the Evenstads have continued to make substantial investments in the varietal through the years. Ken Evenstad attributes their success to date to a combination of factors. “On volcanic Jory soil, at high elevations, with Dijon clone Chardonnay vines and dry farming, the wine that we can produce here in Oregon is absolutely magical,” he stated. Not satisfied with past achievements, the winery is preparing to break ground in early 2017 on a stand-alone, gravity-flow facility near the existing winery building, exclusively dedicated to white and sparkling wines.
The Evenstad’s commitment to Chardonnay appears to have paid off as evidenced by a track record of critical acclaim unparalleled in the Pacific Northwest region. This most recent Top-2 recognition for Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay makes it the Wine Spectator’s top-ranked white wine of 2016, and only the fourth Chardonnay to be ranked #1 or # 2 from any global wine region since the magazine’s Top 100 list was created in 1988.
Domaine Serene’s ranking as a Wine Spectator Top-10 wine of the year is not the first time the magazine has recognized the winery’s high quality. In 2013, the winery’s 2010 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir was the Wine Spectator’s top-ranked Pinot Noir in the World, and came in #3 on their Top 100 list for that year. Domaine Serene is also the only winery to have been granted Top-3 recognition by the magazine for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Other major international wine publications have also recognized Domaine Serene as one of the world’s top wine producers. In April, 2016 London-based Decanter Magazine’s panel of 95 Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers ranked Domaine Serene’s 2012 Winery Hill Pinot Noir best in the world, and awarded it a Platinum “Best in Show” medal at their international DWWA competition. Renowned wine critic James Suckling has included Domaine Serene Winery in his prestigious list of Great Wines of the World for the past three years, an honor shared by only two other wineries in North America. Additionally, wine critic Anthony Dias Blue has described Domaine Serene as “The Château Lafite of Oregon,” and Robert Parker, Jr. of the Wine Advocate has designated Domaine Serene as one of only two wineries in the state that merit an “Outstanding” rating.
Wine Spectator editors arrived at this year’s Top 100 selection from blind tastings of more than 18,000 wines. The magazine states that it looks for compelling stories and surprising discoveries, along with quality (score), value (price) and availability (cases made or imported). In 2016 the average score and average price in the Top 100 list were 93 points and $46, respectively.
The Evenstads came full circle in their passion for great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay when they purchased the respected Burgundy wine estate, Château de la Crée, in 2015. Featuring a restored 15th century château in the historic Côte de Beaune village of Santenay, Château de la Crée holds vineyards located entirely along the acclaimed Côte d’Or escarpment, including Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay, and Maranges. The Château also boasts a state-of-the-art, gravity-flow winery that was retrofitted into an ancient building in Santenay in 2011.