Pro­ducer pro­file: Do­maine Ni­co­las-Jay

It took more than 25 years for a chat about a joint wine­mak­ing ven­ture to bear fruit, but the past five years have seen this pro­ject be­tween a for­mer US mu­sic mogul and a Bur­gun­dian wine­maker be­come one of the big names of Ore­gon Pinot Noir. Matthew Luczy

Decanter - - CONTENTS -

Matthew Luczy

Alate Septem­ber evening, and Jay Boberg is loos­en­ing the ratchet straps se­cur­ing har­vest bins to a flatbed trailer in prepa­ra­tion for the pick­ing of Pinot Noir in the Nysa Vine­yard at dawn. The Nysa site, in the Dundee Hills in Ore­gon’s Wil­lamette Val­ley, of­fers a stun­ning panoramic view of the area, in­clud­ing the es­tate vine­yards of Do­maine Drouhin Ore­gon.

The quar­ter-tonne bins have been hauled here by Fu­riosa, a rusty Dodge Ram 250 Cum­mins Turbo Diesel, af­fec­tion­ately named af­ter Char­l­ize Theron’s char­ac­ter in Mad Max: Fury Road. This weath­ered truck has be­come some­thing of an en­trenched char­ac­ter at Do­maine Ni­co­las-Jay, and in a sense so­lid­i­fies the healthy hu­mil­ity that runs through­out this pro­ject.

Ex-mu­sic in­dus­try power player Jay Boberg’s role in the win­ery runs the gamut from co-founder, win­ery plan­ner, field sorter and har­vest-bin trans­porter. It seems that the higher up the lad­der you are in a pro­ject, the larger the chasm can be be­tween peo­ple’s per­cep­tion of that role and its re­al­ity.

‘When I’m in the mar­ket set­ting up ap­point­ments with wine buy­ers, I of­ten get the feel­ing that my mu­sic in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tive back­ground leads them to think that I’m “the es­tab­lish­ment” or some­thing,’ says Boberg. ‘Peo­ple think I’m just the guy writ­ing the cheques, that other peo­ple get things done.’

Ear­lier, head­ing up the washed-out dirt road lead­ing to Nysa Vine­yard, Boberg had been re­call­ing the story of how it was his nowneigh­bours, Véronique Drouhin and David Mill­man of Do­maine Drouhin Ore­gon, who orig­i­nally en­cour­aged him to start a win­ery pro­ject in the Wil­lamette Val­ley.

Mere mo­ments later, al­most as if on cue and surely with ears ring­ing, Drouhin her­self drove by. With a sur­prised and joy­ous wave, she pulled over to catch up, talk over the vin­tage con­di­tions, and watch the im­mi­nent, and soon-to-be stun­ning, sun­set.

It was a serendip­i­tous and full-cir­cle mo­ment, and one that brought into a De­cante➢r

Do­maine Ni­co­las-Jay’s Bishop Creek Vine­yard in the Dundee Hills AVA, Ore­gon

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