The grapes were hand-picked into small boxes of 25 pounds and generally de-stemmed. Fermentation began with indigenous yeast and was conducted in the classical method of punching down the cap and pumping over the juice. As a result of the high skin to solid ratio, the young wine showed intense color and fine tannins. As is customary, the wine was aged in barrels sent from Joseph Drouhin's inventory. New oak content was restricted to less than 20% so as not to hide the wine's true character. Malolactic fermentation was completed naturally in barrels without inoculation.
Though harvest fell within normal bounds for Oregon, the spring was unseasonably cool with moderate rain, the most concentrated of which fell around bloom. As a result, the set was light and ultimate yields were in the range of two tons an acre or less. The remainder of the summer was dry and quite warm, culminating in ideal conditions for the harvest which began September 20th and finished October 4th. Both the clusters and the berries were small so that the important skin to solid ratio was very high.
Very low yields and splendid grapes, it shows in the 1994 wines! The color is beautiful. On the nose: ripe and succulent fruit flavors. This is an opulent and concentrated wine finely balanced. It should develop extremely well over the next 8 to 10 years. The major characteristics of the Laurene cuvee are its elegance and complexity. The wine has a more solid framework than the regular DDO. The aging potential is very good. This wine was made from a careful selection of grapes which we thought more suitable for a long lasting wine. It should be noted here that such a small bottling allows the quality of DDO to remain unchanged. The production of Laurene 1994 is limited to 1,500, six bottle, cases.