More links between Oregon and France: the winemaker for Lachini Vineyards in Dayton, Ore., Isabelle Dutartre, actually lives in the Languedoc.
Lachini just released its third vintage, which I tasted last week. Familiar story: Ron Lachini left California and a career in the pharmaceutical industry seven years ago to grow pinot noir in Oregon. He has a new day job now with Morgan Stanley and employs two winemakers, each responsible for a separate cuvée: local lad Peter Rosback and Isabelle, who visits several times a year.
Peter's wine is very "American," a self-consciously crafted bottle, picked late, with lots of new oak. Isabelle's, on the other hand, is very "Burgundian," lighter, more restrained, elegant.
Isabelle is a longtime friend and colleague of Véronique Drouhin, daughter of a leading Burgundian family and winemaker for its pioneering venture, Domaine Drouhin Oregon. After five vintages at DDO Isabelle returned to France to raise a family, signed on as a consultant to a Burgundian barrel manufacturer, and now regularly flies over to drop on her Oregon clients.