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Drouhin-Vaudon – 2013

DSC05977Tasted in Chichée with Frédéric Drouhin, 28th January 2015.

Domaine Drouhin Vaudon
Moulin de Vaudon Chemin du Moulin
89800 Chichée
Tel: +33 3 80 24 68 88
www.drouhin-vaudon.com

Joseph Drouhin own 40 hectares of vines in Chablis, vines that have been slowly accumulated over many, many years. The Domaine takes its name from the old water-mill in Chichée which Drouhin bought in the 1980s. At one time the name was just Domaine de Vaudon and that led to a little confusion, hence, the clear statement on the labels today – Domaine Drouhin-Vaudon.

The water-mill needed quite a bit of renovation and is still occasionally flooded – the water was rather high (and fast!) the day I visited, with more rain in the forecast… If I’m honest, I’m still unclear why the name Vaudon is used, as the old water-mill is virtually nothing but an office with space for pressing the grapes but no obvious space for winemaking – it seems surplus to their needs – but that has nothing to do with the wines and winemaking, so let’s concentrate on that.

The Drouhin-Vaudon wines are always vinified in Beaune; the grapes are first pressed here in Chablis and then next day shipped to Beaune – the team are not really convinced that it is worth investing in local winemaking – at least in the short-term.

Plenty of horsetail and nettle treatments et-cetera are used here. 1998 were the first biodynamic trails here by Drouhin in Chablis. Today the team even play music to some of their vines – every morning at 6 or 7 o’clock – a little Mozart for instance! The thought is to help ‘activate the vines’ in a couple of vineyards, just as an experiment. It’s not used in the winter because the plants are sleeping 😉

The Petit Chablis and Chablis are machine picked, the 1ers mainly by hand, and grand crus entirely by hand.

Frédéric on 2013:
“2013 was a late harvest and hard year due to multiple factors; not just poor flowering – a cold winter, mildew and other maladies that meant regular intervention in the vines. Certainly more copper was used than an average year, normally less than 2kg (metal equivalent) per year per hectare is usual here, but it was more in 2013. We prefer to work in a prophylactic way, reducing the canopy and allowing more air in the vines.

“The grapes when harvested looked okay but surprised us by delivering less juice than we expected – we had a lot of dry material – so ended up with about 30% lower yields. We normally bottle in the summer, but the malos were slow, so no rush – anyway late malos often bring nicer texture and complexity.

“I think this is an ‘academic vintage’ – very precise so for MW students! I like the acidity-grip and it has the capacity to age nicely if consumers wish.”

The wines…

A good address in 2013 – wines with good freshness…

2013 Petit Chablis
From ‘La Petit Preuses’ on the other side of the Bougros hill, plus some purchased grapes.
Quite open and deep – the nose starts a little cheesy but cleans up quickly. Nice freshness and detail in the mouth – actually this is very lovely with fine acidity and minerality. A perfumed width in the finish. Long too for the label. Excellent.

2013 Chablis
Only estate fruit.
Some depth and interest, and a hint of salinity here. Round, rich but with plenty of balancing acidity – it then becomes more direct and mineral – super complexity. Excellent again.

2013 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Almost 2 hectares – a new wine and the only 1er from the right bank. Now being converted to biodynamics.
A little spice and an interesting, discreet reduction. Also a richness and silkiness to the texture. Fine intensity, a little onion skin, plenty of minerality. Lots and lots of detail here. A little honey on the nose too.

2013 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Fresh and again with a faint reduction – there are also some floral aspects and a chalky impression at the base. Less richness and weight of texture but a really super line of intense mineral flavour. Super, and with plenty of perfume in the finish.

2013 Chablis 1er Montmains
Fresh and airy with some seashore aroma and a faintly growing ripeness of perfumed fruit. Again a fine fresh, lithe and energetic wine – just a hint more richness, but very discreetly so. Wide, and perfumed in the finish – long finishing too

2013 Chablis Vaudesir
At 2.3 ha the largest amount of grand cru at Drouhin-Vaudon but it’s still a collection of parcels. The oldest vines are almost 50 year-old and ploughed by horse as it’s quite steep and helps to avoid compaction. Raised in 300 and 350 litre casks (not new) and bottled in October.
High tones and faint a saltiness over a weight of rather tight aroma. Very nice weight in the mouth, with a little padding and a lot of intensity. Not an obviously acid-driven wine, rather a wine with perfect balance that’s driven by its complexity and concentration. Very fine length. Super!

2013 Chablis Bougros
Now with sprinklers to protect the vines. ‘Over the last 8 years the quality has really increased.’
A fine, airy and fresh nose. More weight and mid-palate intensity, a slowly growing intensity that peaks beautifully in the finish before slowly decaying. Discreetly complex finishing. Lovely wine!

2013 Chablis Les Clos
2 parcels in this very sunny vineyard; the lower slope with about 30 years old vines, the higher vines closer to 60 years old.
A weight of understated but complex aroma – slowly evolving seashore note too. Weight on the palate and with a little richness too. Super concentration and quite enough balance. A really fine intensity of flavour and super width. Only faintly perfumed here…

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?