Joseph Drouhin – 2012s


DSC03110Tasted in Beaune with Véronique Drouhin, 19 Feb, 2014.

Véronique on 2012s: “They are now, mostly bottled. Of-course the biggest story is yields; we had almost everything that the weather could throw at us in 2012 – except botrytis. But the health of the grapes that we harvested was superb. Chassagne-Montrachet had no hail and the wines are outstanding. It was a good year for Chablis too, as we had far fewer issues to contend with in the vineyards.

“I think that our wines have gained a little structure and weight since Jérôme joined.”
(Jérôme Faure-Brac, who joined as winemaker, just before the 2005 harvest.)

Véronique on 2013: “Hail normally lasts 2-5 minutes; this day it lasted for almost 30 minutes. We can easily judge what the weather has done to our harvest yields in our Beaune, Clos des Mouches: Let’s say a normal yield is 100, in 2012 we harvested only 20 – in 2013 we harvested only 10!”

Véronique on pricing: “We’ve seen increases in grape prices of 20 to 50% in 2012 and almost the same again in 2013 – some Chablis was +50% in 2013. And it’s not just grapes; corks and barrels have also significantly increased. You can ask me any technical questions, but you’d be better asking Frédéric (Drouhin) about our pricing.” So I asked Frédéric: “In 2012 we have increased prices by 5 to 15% – ex-domaine in Euros – depending on both the wine and the situation. We didn’t make an increase for our 2011s.”

The reds:

2012 Fleurie
“We don’t make a lot, so we can afford to be demanding.” Says Véronique.
This is round and softly inviting – a lovely, lovely nose. Full, round but beautiful, and it remains soft at the edges, despite its concentration. Long finishing, and slightly mineral. I really don’t get to drink a lot of Beaujolais, cru or otherwise, but this has a wonderful friendliness about it.

2012 Rully
Made from a combination of estate and purchased grapes.
Medium-plus colour. The aromas are of darker fruit and minerals – totally different to the Fleurie. Serious wines here, with a good base of structure and a growing intensity of red fruit – though less obviously ripe fruit versus the last wine. Excellent for the label – a really great drink.

2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune Clos des Godeaux
A monopole of Drouhin that sits near the 1er cru of Talmettes.
Medium, medium-plus colour. A hint of spice on the nose and a very faint reduction too, but here is real depth of aroma. Round, with modest and fine tannin. There’s a growing intensity of flavour and very good concentration. Plenty of wine here, the finish lingers well.

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin
Since 2005 they have been making this wine with a balance of northern and southern Gevrey grapes. Not to mention the 20% 1er cru grapes that it also contains. “Stunning quality for a price that is not crazy” notes Véronique.”
Bright, wide, fresh fruit with some higher tones too. Much more width in the mid-palate vs the Savigny, despite similar depth, but here is redder fruit. Lovely growth of flavour and finishing minerality. Excellent wine.

2012 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
This cuvée is assembled, still waiting to be bottled.
Here is a real depth of dark-red fruit aroma plus slowly growing higher-toned notes that suggest, without quite delivering, flowers. Full, round, with super depth of flavour and excellent concentration – yet there is fine energy too. Plenty of tannin for you to find and a faint, but (I expect) transient, astringency. Excellent!

2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Medium, medium-plus colour. Versus the Clos des Mouches, the aromas are not so deep, but they are wide have a little, prettier floral top-note. Round, ripe, fresh fruit – this is simply delicious. There’s a slowly growing structure but it isn’t enough to distract. Mouth-watering in the finish with some minerality there too. Yum.

2012 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts
Not yet bottled, but only 3 barrels in this vintage. A little wickedly, I mentioned that Jacques Lardière considers PM to be a modest 1er cru, and not much improvement on some village plots. Véronique stayed completely calm and offered some interesting detail: “Well, Petits Monts actually does occupy two levels; there is the level where Cros Parentoux, Petits Monts and Les Reignots are in a line, and there is a second level, above. We once bought some grapes from the level above, and did declassify it to villages.”
The nose definitely offers-up some weight and spice, if not great depth. Full and round, giving the impression of a halo of fine-textured tannin. Layers of flavour here and very good length too.

2012 Griotte-Chambertin
Medium, medium-plus colour. Super depth and texture, and like the Petits Monts, this aromatic carries real weight. Plenty of fine, ripe tannin. The flavour starts quite modestly, but gets wider and wider and wider. Just a beautiful wine. If it was served to me at dinner, I think I would stop eating to enjoy this fully…

The whites:

2012 Saint-Veran
The produce of 17 partners/growers in the area. Just a small amount of oak used here
Very aromatic with high tones. Full and round, with sweetness of fruit – there’s a lot of flavour here, particularly in the finish. Nice enough, but I’d prefer a twist more acidity.

2012 Chablis Reserve du Vaudon
Elevage in 100% stainless-steel.
Pale lemon yellow. Wide and interesting nose, with a hint of salt. Lovely width, and fine acidity. A simply delicious wine – for its price, brilliant!

2012 Domaine Drouhin-Vaudon, Chablis Vaudesir
This is mainly fermented in 1-4 year-old barrels.
Medium-pale, lemon yellow. There’s a depth of aroma here, some ripeness too, but its more about minerals than fruit. More texture, depth and concentration – a little less vivacity, perhaps, but it’s fine and mouth-watering in the impressive finish.

2012 Rully
Just like the red (Rully), this is a blend of estate and purchased fruit. Apparently the vines have recovered well from their battering by hail in 2011.
Medium-pale, lemon-yellow. Lovely fruit and a nice texture too. There’s more acidity to balance than the Saint-Veran and this is another delicious wine.

2012 Côte de Beaune (Blanc)
From 3 vineyards plus the young-vine produce of Clos des Mouches (It wears a very similar label.) It’s a small cuvée so is not exported to all markets, but can be bought in Drouhin’s new shop in Beaune, or at Denis Perret’s, also in Beaune.
Medium-pale, lemon-yellow. High-toned but with an undertow of fresh but ripe fruit – enticing! Full in the mouth, quite braid but with freshness and interesting density – a performance that easily surpasses the label. Excellent stuff with a nicely mouth-watering finish.

2012 Meursault
Classic Meursault aroma of gingerbread, overlaid with fresh, high-toned notes. Round, nicely filling the mouth and even with the impression of a little tannin – super dry extract here. Quite good enough acidity. Real wine – yum.

2012 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Folatières
Width and freshness that overlays a base of ripeness and a few creamy barrel references. Full, round and with plenty of sweetness. There’s a stonyness in the mid-palate too. Slowly lingering finish. Very good…

2012 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
Medium-pale, lemon-yellow. Faint SO2 but it’s still wide and airy – it compels you to taste. Round, but with quite some minerality to match the density – it’s full of complexity. This is really excellent. Such a shame that there’s hardly any this year, as it’s brilliant!

2012 Marquis de Laguiche, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Morgeots
Classic Chassagne nose of green-skinned fruit and herbs – some higher tones floating above. Full, growing intensity and growing flavours too. This is excellent – I’m loving this!

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