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Dinner at Maison Joseph Drouhin

November 22, 2017

2017-11-20 18.56.01The Sales Director of Maison Joseph Drouhin, M. Jean-Paul Dumond, never fails to remind people that wine is meant to be shared amongst good company, something that surely strikes a chord with all wine lovers. It was with distinct pleasure that we had the opportunity to meet up with Jean-Paul once again in the extensive offices of Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune on the cold winter evening of 20 November 2017, exactly the same venue where we had first been introduced to him two years ago. This time, Jean-Paul has arranged for us to dine at the Maison itself, where chef Christophe Queant of Jean-Paul’s favourite restaurant Le Carmin had been summoned to prepare a delectable four-course menu.

First, of course, was the obligatory re-visit of the cellars which are the oldest in Burgundy, having been owned by the powerful Duke of Burgundy centuries ago, a part of which contained a wall dating back to 4th century Roman empire. We are reminded that the Maison plays a major role in vinifying many of the wines auctioned off for the Hospice de Beaune, evidenced by the presence of these barrels in the cellar.

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Returning back to the dining room, we began first with a tasting of three wines. First was the 2016 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er, showing aromas of delicate nutmeg, wild flowers in bloom and some green elements, quite lifted, showing good acidity and matching minerals with good precision, just a tad chalky but neither overbearing nor opulent. Needs to flesh out. Next was the 2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches Blanc that featured lemongrass, yellow citrus and other grassy elements on the nose and palate, replete with delicate crème de la crème, quite rich and  highly expressive, its tingling acidity conferring superb suppleness and mouthfeel, culminating in a lengthy finish of subtle minerals. Very fine indeed.

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The final wine for the brief tasting promenade came from an unmarked decanter that had been sitting in a quiet corner for several hours. From our previous experience with Jean-Paul whose generosity knows no boundaries, we guessed with certainty that this would be none other than a Montrachet Grand Cru itself, and we were spot on. The 2015 Montrachet Grand Cru Marquis de Laguiche sported a rich sheen of creme de la creme and white flowers in full bloom, full and fresh with great acidity though still tight, displaying lovely tension and linearity, growing in fabulous intensity but yet to reveal inner detail. Any Montrachet will need more than a decade to come through and clearly, this one shouldn’t be touched at all.

20171120_193915.jpgWe settled down to dinner where three wines have been listed to be served. First was the 2008 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er served from jeroboam, showing a deep golden hue, exuding a lovely bouquet of deep earthy pungency, full and fresh with a great minerally concentration, showing good linearity and intensity, growing fuller with more fruit over time, finishing with strong notes of mint and spice but yet to develop inner detail. Excellent.

Next, the 2009 Hospice de Beaune Beaune Cuvee Maurice Drouhin, served from magnum, was darkly tinted with dark cherries, ripe wild berries and some earth, displaying deeper notes of graphite and smouldering ember on the palate with a vegetal trace. Fleshy, showing more acidity than fruit, finishing with dark spicy tones. In contrast, the 2001 Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru displayed a deep delicious bouquet of ripe dark cherries, rose petals and camphor with good depth of fruit, showing superb acidity and concentration, dry in intensity with earthy minerals without much structure, just a tad short.

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Seeing that the party was going well and that we were enjoying every drop of wine, Jean-Paul brought up an additional impromptu red, a 2015 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru that boasted a deep glorious bouquet of fresh rose petals, camphor and bright cherries with a special whiff of cigar, open with lovely feminine elegance, poise and great balance, gently structured with sweet supple tannins, not showy at all. A great Clos de Beze.

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Finally, as is the custom always with Jean-Paul, a 1996 Ch D’Yquem was popped to round off the evening, displaying notes of smoke, nectarine, brioche and cassis with a lovely depth of aged tangerines, very fine in acidity and length with lasting intensity at the finish. This is probably the only time one drinks Bordeaux in Burgundy. Many thanks, Jean-Paul, for sharing so freely with us your generosity and friendship.

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