The Domaine Serene tasting room is at the end of a gravel road surrounded by lush vineyards. Once you drive past the rolling hills of grape vines and park your car, before getting to the tasting room you still need to walk through their property, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland meets European architecture. It feels almost like an adventure getting to their tasting room, down a long flight of stairs and past signs buried in hedges.
We started off the tasting with a delicious 2010 Etoile Vineyard Chardonnay that had apple right on the nose. It was done in 100 percent neutral French oak, so it still had a nice, round, soft mouth feel without the overpowering oak flavors of new oak or the sharpness of stainless steel. Their 2010 Yamhill Cuvée Pinot noir wasn’t my favorite, but their Pinot noirs are barrel aged for 13 months then aged in bottle for a year, giving the wines a little more time to open up and gain depth. Their Evenstad Reserve Pinot noir, a flagship wine, is impressive. We tried both the 2010 and the 2008 (this is the last week they will have the 2008, and it was off-flight) and the 2008 blew me away. Where the 10 was powerful, the 08 was smooth and refined. Both vintages were structured and well-made, a testament to the skill of the winemaker and mother nature as they both carefully put this wine together.
Domaine Serene also owns Rockblock Syrah in Carlton, but are in the process of trying to sell it. Their “SoNo” Syrah is a blend of 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages that created a more complex wine than expected from a Syrah. Big reds aren’t my thing, but this one was interesting. Finally, we finished with a “R” Rosé that feels like it’s made from a big red, but since it’s a proprietary blend, that’ll just stay a secret.
They are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 6555 NE Hilltop Lane, Dayton, OR 97114