Burgundy & Champagne Imports
A premier Oregon winery that also imports an exciting array of world-class Burgundy and Champagne directly from small family-owned domaines?!? We know!! It’s a very unusual business model — we don’t know of another winery in the country that is also a direct, national importer! Scott spends more than a month each year in France, driving along the back roads and scouring the little hamlets to find wines that are exciting and alive and made by families, not factories.
Direct-importing means that we deal directly with the producer him or herself, without any agent or broker in the middle. Sure, it saves you a lot of money, but it also means that we know these wines, and the families that make them, intimately. We break bread. Our kids have sleepovers. Before we import a wine, we have to love the wine, it has to represent a true value in its class, and we have to love the people who made it. The friendships we have formed are a great source of joy and make bearable all the hoops that we jump through to bring these treasures to our shores.
What we import?
We import more than 100 different wines from 25 different producers in Burgundy and Champagne and sell them nationally through our distribution channels, as well as offer them for tasting and for sale in our tasting rooms and of course here online. Red Burgundies are produced in the Burgundy region of France from the same grape we grow here — Pinot Noir — allowing us to offer visitors the unique opportunity to taste New World Pinot from Oregon and Old World Pinot from Burgundy side by side. In 2007 we expanded our portfolio to include Scott’s other great love, Grower Champagne. Grower Champagne is one of the fastest growing segments in the wine world right now. The term refers to Champagne made by small, family producers, growing grapes and making wines exclusively from their own vineyards, as opposed to the “big houses” like Moët et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Mumm, etc. that buy fruit from hundreds of farmers and make their Champagne on a mass-scale. We now import several bottlings from eight of Champagne’s star growers.
As with the wines we produce under the Scott Paul label in Oregon, we believe Burgundy and Champagne are at their best when they express grace, elegance, complexity of aromas & purity of flavors — and when these qualities are prized over power, weight and heavy extraction. As we’ve come to learn from the French over the centuries, it all boils down to these essentials: old vines, low yields, micro-managed care in the vineyard, and the barest minimum of intervention in the winery. Our mission is that every producer and each wine we represent should be a shining example of the above.
Says Scott, “I seek out wines made in a style that I love to drink at home. From established superstars to the next generation of rising stars, I’m on a mission to bring the best of Burgundy and Champagne to America. I personally taste and select every wine that we import and sell multiple times before we decide to bring it in, at every stage of the wines’ development. We have long-term relationships with our producers and their families, and only bring in wines grown and made by people who are committed to the highest quality and attention to detail.”
Why the imports?
First and foremost, we’re crazy passionate about them! And you’d have to be. The red-tape involved in importing wines is not for the faint of heart! Scott was fortunate to grow up in a household with fine Burgundy and Champagne on the table on a regular basis, and he caught the bug very early.
Secondly, we in Oregon have a strong connection to Burgundy. Our early wine industry pioneers were inspired by Burgundy. When they were told that they were flat-out crazy to plant this far north — that the fruit would never, ever ripen (this was the conventional wisdom taught at UC Davis) they pointed to Burgundy and said, “well we share the same latitude and we have very similar climates, and Burgundy is the motherland of Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay).” They went further in the thinking: “Not only will the fruit ripen, it’s the fact that it will just barely ripen after a long season of warm days and cool nights that will make ours world-class Pinot, just like in Burgundy.” So here we all are!
And finally, due to Scott’s tenure as Managing Director of Domaine Drouhin Oregon, owned by the esteemed Drouhin Family of Burgundy, he began to spend more time in Burgundy, establishing friendships that helped us jump-start our dream of importing Burgundy.
If it sounds like an adventure you’d like to be a part of, please join us. Please visit. You can learn about Burgundy and Champagne on some of our reference pages here, and also through our educational wine clubs. Welcome aboard and cheers!!
All reviews and scores found in the wine notes are courtesy of Allen Meadows, Burghound.com, unless otherwise noted.