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Joseph Drouhin Montrachet 2012 & 2014, Montrose 2010, 2005, 1998 & 1976 and D’Yquem 2005

November 26, 2016

These notes come from a FICOFI event on 21 October 2016 at the China Club, Singapore, showcasing the whites of Joseph Drouhin and a vertical of Chateau Montrose. It was good to meet up, once again, with M. Jean-Paul Dumond, Sales Director of the former, who appeared absolutely at home here in Singapore. Representing the Bordeaux Super Second estate was M. Herve Berland, its CEO since 2012, who had previously spent many years at Ch Mouton Rothschild. Like most FICOFI events, the focus was on the free flow of wine while the five-course Chinese dinner was a relatively straightforward affair. The preceding promenade was hosted entirely by Joseph Drouhin where it was clear that 2014 is living up to its exalted promise, wines of true finesse, depth and potential complexity with 2012 being absolute rivals (if you can still find them), eclipsing those of 2013 which are themselves excellent but requiring more time to unravel.

2016-10-21-21-02-47Chateau Montrose, on the other hand, proved beyond doubt the special value of ex-cellar wines which had remained exceptionally fresh in spite of the many years of bottle age. The wines featured that evening, of course, were made before the new CEO came on board. When I spoke in person with M. Berland, he appeared intent on fashioning Montrose in a more accessible style from young, something I’m not sure would sit well with me. As I see it, the terroir of Ch Montrose translates into wines that can be tough, perhaps even hard, in their youth but which will reward handsomely with time and patience, as exemplified by the 1998 and 1976 that evening. To me, that is what makes Ch Montrose so special. I don’t wish to taste another international wine. A Montrose must speak about its Saint-Estephe terroir and if that cannot be hurried, so be it.

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M. Herve Berland making a point

At the promenade…

2013 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Pulcelles 1er. Gentle bouquet of morning dew, green fruits and crème de la crème, more minerally on the palate where it is delicious with good concentration and early complexity, but needs more time in bottle.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Deeper on the nose than the preceding Les Pulcelles with delicious aromas of pineapples and tropical citrus of fine intensity, quite full though surprisingly placid on the palate with gentle crème de la crème, turning quite minerally at its lasting finish. Everyone loved it. Excellent.

2010 Joseph Drouhin Mersault Perrieres 1er. Somewhat shut on the nose though some tropical fruits and green apples are discernible. Medium-bodied, quite lean though infused with good concentration of minerals with overtones of wheat, turning rather stern after some time as it tapered to an austere finish.

2014 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru. Beautiful lifted bouquet with rich luxuriant notes of creme de la crème and white flowers, yet ethereal with subdued minerality and acidity, displaying very lovely balance, gentle intensity, great elegance and concealed power, revealing greater detail and definition as it sat in the glass, infinitely persistent in its finish. Outstanding.

2016-10-21-19-02-022014 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 1er. Forward balance with good concentration of clear citrus and green fruits with overtones of briar supported by saline minerals, fairly open but still a tad unresolved.

And for dinner…

2013 Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. This wine opens with gentle fruity aromas, blossoming well into yellow citrus, rounded on the palate, gaining a bit of mild intensity amidst distinct notes of raw nutmeg before settling down again to a gentle finish. Very fine but it lacks the expression of a Bonneau du Martray.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru. As with the 2014, the Montrachet of 2012 is absolutely lifted with an effortless grace, excellent in concentration and definition, detailed with finely etched minerals on both the nose and palate, beautifully balanced with great harmony and elegance, highly persistent, finishing with a mild ferrous trace. Outstanding.

koh_58912010 Ch Montrose. Shut initially, gradually opening up to reveal a very lovely bouquet, promising an abundance of dark berries and black fruits, potentially delicious. On the palate, the wine is rounded and beautifully proportioned and harmonious, positively glowing after some time though a distinct alcoholic wake is evident at this stage, yet to gain weight, finishing with good length amidst a tinge of green, austere graphite and dryish tannins. Great potential.

2005 Ch Montrose. Lovely earthy pungency with very good depth of fruit, quite glorious, rounded and harmonious with good tannin structure, preserving the dryish texture of Saint Estephe, still youthful, ending on a minty note. Montrose has never been voluptuous. Technically very fine but it felt somewhat detached.

2016-10-21-20-28-301998 Ch Montrose. I still remember seeing bottles of this wine on the shelf of Carrefour for weeks at only SGD79 back in 2003. This wine is showing very well with an attractive earthy pungency on the nose matched by a solid core of dark plums and blackcurrants with soy-like density, quite fleshy, finishing well with good acidity. Not profoundly complex but highly reliable and delicious. Very fine indeed.

1976 Ch Montrose. Amazingly for its age, this wine still displays a lovely deep earthy pungency with a tangerine core on the nose, very open on the palate with excellent presence where it is still quite full-bodied with a plummy tone and good complexity with acidity that’s still quite lively, not in danger of drying out but short. Somehow, wines that are ex-chateau do keep very well.

2005 Ch D’Yquem. A perennial favourite of M. Jean-Paul Dumond, this D’Yquem exudes an effortless bouquet of sweet smoky incense and complex nectarine, fabulous in intensity and concentration with further notes of vanilla and malt, made all the more exalted with its precision, controlled sweetness and superb understated acidity. Outstanding.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hervé BERLAND permalink
    November 28, 2016 18:49

    I read with great interest your publication about the tasting we had in Singapore organized by Ficofi and shared with the Drouhin wines. I guess I did not explain correctly my vision of wine for Montrose. So, please allow me to make the following comments.
    For many yeras, I do believe that the key for making great wine is the terroir.
    Regarding Chateau Montrose, we have an uncomparable one, with a distinctive signature and I have no intention to change it, as this is a gift from Mother Nature. However I know that we can still work on making a wine with the same depht, the same incredible potentiel for lasting very long, but with slightly more precision in its structure and its definition. We have only one goal, to make the highest quality every year while respecting our signature and our terroir. The fact that the wines produced in the recent years are slightly easier to taste before 10/15 years of aging shows all the work we implement to pick our grappes only when they are fully ripe. It is benficial to the wine and does not change anything for the ageing potential. 2009, 2010, and more recently the 2014, 2015 and 2016, are perfect exemples of our conviction and phylosophy.
    With kind regards

    Herve Berland
    Chief Executive Officer
    Chateau Montrose

    • Ric permalink*
      November 28, 2016 20:04

      Thank you very much, Herve, for the clarification. I look forward to visiting Chateau Montrose in the near future. Best wishes, Richard Chen.

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