I met Alexis Pouillon in Portland, Oregon in August of this year. I had not heard of his winery before–so I was excited to taste wines from his line. His Domaine is based in Lyle, Washington (population 511)– across the Columbia river from the Portland side. Alexis label programmes highlights the rural… while winemaking isn’t necessarily thought of as an urban affair–though it is much more in focal point today in the US. But there is an in-between for many wine countries–somewhere between medium and smaller city and sometimes it is hard to define.
Though easier to define is the rural backdrop… seemingly compelling–an almost “I want to do this too.” Look at Domaine Pouillon’s stewardship page on their website. A back-to-basics love affair with earth, sky, food and wine. A compelling proposition that makes its way to the bottle. Also you’ll see “Lyle, Washington’s 511 population” called out on each label.
Alexis is truly passionate about what he does. Talking with him at length in Portland about his winemaking philosophy and further tasting through many of his wines (which I am posting the video reviews I completed here to add further colour). His training begins in California in Mendocino County at Fetzer and an apprenticeship at Chateau Beaucastel gives that bench strength and experience in each bottle. Alexis further paintbrush is where he sources fruit: Columbia Valley and Horse Heaven Hills (very hard to find any wine from this AVA in San Francisco).
I did taste the following wines in the past few months (and at end of vintage is my score out of 10 points)
- Domaine Pouillon Columbia Valley Gewürztraminer – 2011 – 9.2
- Domaine Pouillon Columbia Valley Doux White Wine – 2010 – 9.1 – Chardonnay 57% and Viognier 43% – $18.25 (from producer)
- Domaine Pouillon Horse Hills Heaven Black Dot Red Wine – 2010 – 9.1 – a very interesting blend of 50% Zinfandel, 20% Grenache, 10%Syrah, 10% Cinsault and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon – $19.50 (from producer)
- Domaine Pouillon Horse Heaven Hills Pierre Red Wine – 2009 – 9.2 – 2012 – 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Syrah
- Domaine Pouillon McKinley Springs Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills Syrah – 2010 – 9.3 – Great label of a French Press – evidence of great Syrah from Horse Heaven Hills and Washington in general
- Domaine Pouillon Columbia Valley Rosé – 2011 – 9.2 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy – 40% Grenache, 25% Dolcetto, 25% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre – another great blend and this certainly is breakaway from many and most Rosés
Each wine was superb; lyrical quality and love for wine in each bottle is strongly evident. Such an excellent producer in Washington State and something worthy of your table. Good fruit and an attention-to-detail in winemaking is a recipe for great wines. Washington continues to dazzle me with superb fruit and beautiful expressions that certainly has made me take note.
Great quality wines for very approachable prices—the price points that make it easier to open up on a Monday and still enjoy on Saturday. Alexis Pouillon does change up his blends on a yearly basis and like many winemakers optimizes the blend for the best bottle possible. I can’t wait to taste more wines from Domaine Pouillon.
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