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Ric visits Joseph Drouhin

September 27, 2015

Today, 26 September 2015, marked another exceptional visit to one of the oldest names in Burgundy, the Domaine Joseph Drouhin. Founded in 1880 as a negociant, this estate now also owns more than 70 hectares of vines in Chablis, Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune. DSC_5878We were welcome at the door, situated right next to the Collegial Notre Dame in Beaune, by its Sales Director M. Jean-Paul Dumond, a highly affable character who had spent several years of his youth in England that accounted for his excellent English and his love for rugby. We went straight to the cellars and, once again, we were all amazed by the extensive labyrinth of dark damp tunnels that, surely, must criss-cross a large part of Beaune. Farming is entirely biodynamic at Joseph Drouhin and the freshly-pressed wine is allowed to flow by gravity into its collecting vat. We then went into its tasting room where Jean-Paul had prepared a generous line-up, the whites having been aired the night before.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Chablis Bougros Grand Cru. Delicate, fairly intense notes of lime and citrus. Medium-bodied, slightly chalky, persistent. Very good.

DSC_59002012 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 1er. Fuller, more fat, luscious, attractive oily texture, subdued minerality, slightly stern but lasting finish. Very good.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1er. Lovely fragrance. Hint of apricot and nectarine with white pepper. Rounded and minerally. Lively, crisp and long.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er. Darker and bigger wine. Dark cherries, wild berries and earth. Accessible. Stern trace of brightness at the finish.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Nuts-St-Georges Proces 1er. Red fruits, earth and incense. Good intensity, very well integrated, structured. Excellent fruit quality and depth. Persistent. Powerful. Excellent.

DSC_59522013 Joseph Drouhin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Good color. Highly aromatic.  Ripe red fruits. Rounded, soft. Less structured. Dry finish. Elegant but lacks real layering.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru. Highly aromatic. Excellent acidity, depth and layering. Structured. Still a tad unsettled.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Lifted aromas of red fruits. Great depth and structure, layered. Superb balance. Already quite open in spite of its youth. Great linearity and definition. Great potential.  Superb.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Great bouquet. Full, oily and fat. Gorgeous creme de la crème and white flowers amidst subtle minerality, enhancing its complexity. Has great character. Already accessible. A great rarity: only 300 bottles. One can go on forever on the nose.

DSC_59772012 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Grand Cru. Enticing, seductive, gentle with complex citrus of controlled intensity. Velvety on the palate, displaying wonderful depth but it’s the supreme balance that holds everything today. Absolutely harmonious. A great wine made to last forever. Truly mesmerizing. Heavenly, yet humbling to know such sublimity is possible.

On that high, we made our way to Le Carmin for lunch where Jean-Paul had pre-arranged a simple yet delectable menu of delicate seafood starters and veal, accompanied by the smoothest mash potato I’ve ever tasted. The generosity of Jean-Paul knew no boundaries. As if the wines we’ve had weren’t enough, Jean-Paul provided another couple more bottles and settled the bill as well:

2003 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Grand Cru. Perfect luminous gold. Utterly complex yet gentle in its entry on the palate, seductive and glowing with almonds, creme de la crème, complex citrus and perfect acidity, superbly balanced, excellent in concentration with a lightness of being. Ethereal.

DSC_59961995 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes 1er. Medicinal and herbal aromas with sweet tannins and receding acidity. Slightly burly. An older and heavier style of burgundy but still drinking well

To have not one, but two supreme bottles of Montrachet Grand Cru in one afternoon is, indeed, an outstanding and unique experience, enhanced further by the spirit of friendship and camaraderie around the table. We cannot thank Jean-Paul enough for his kind hospitality and for making this visit possible. Joseph Drouhin has left an indelible mark on my mind with its outstanding quality and I shall forever remain grateful to have experienced such a wonderful opportunity.

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