Domaine Drouhin-Laroze – Latricières

Update 5.6.2018(31.5.2018)billn

Tasted in Gevrey-Chambertin with Caroline Drouhin-Darlot, 25 April 2018.

Domaine Drouhin-Laroze
20 Rue Gaizot
21220 Gevrey-Chambertin
Tel: +33 3 80 34 31 49

Link to Latricières-Chambertin profile

The Drouhin-Laroze plot of Latricières-Chambertin is a central and generous 0.67 hectares sandwiched between the vines of Faiveley and Leroy – not bad neighbours! The vines were acquired after the second world war from the Gillot family – previously noted as owners of Latricières by Danguy et Aubertin in 1892. Right now the domaine have pulled out about half of the vineyard, some older, low yielding vines, replanting in April of this year – I was lucky enough to see some of the work underway.

Caroline describes their plot as always later harvesting – “Practically the last harvested each year, as it’s close to the Combe Grisard the vines sitting in it’s cone de dejection. We only have about 10-15cm of soil and before we start to hit the limestone bedrock.” Like Faiveley, who were also replanting a section at the same time, the team had to break up some rocks to aid plantation – the new section will see a plantation density of ‘a bit more’ than 10,000 plants per hectare. The remaining vines were planted in 1959 and 1984 two plantations, whilst the new plantation is of pinot-fin on three different rootstocks…

Philippe Drouhin (Caroline’s father) notes that “There was a time that it wasn’t that easy to sell Latricières – it was a bit lost – but today, it goes very.” Some images of the team in their Latricières with Philippe Drouhin, Caroline and Nicolas Drouhin – and, of-course, Higgins the dog:

The wines…

Wines with good freshness and a certain salinity – but I’m often troubled by the quantity of oak that I perceive in these wines.

Caroline explained a little the current approach of the domaine in the cuverie:
We use a variety of coopers and up to 80% new oak for the grand crus, with one racking mid-elevage. My father, Philippe, took over vinification in 2001 from my grandfather. We’ve seen many changes since then, the vintages that followed each saw some changes, for instance the addition of triage tables. Our style changed more from 2003 I think. Then since 2008 with my brother Nicolas, then again since 2014 with more and more attention to vinification – we are looking or the freshness, lightness and fruit that pinot brings, we don’t like toasty or vanilla notes or reduction, we’re looking for purity. We started some tests with whole clusters in our Bonnes-Mares and Chambertin in 2014, and we liked the result! In 2015-17 we have slowly increased the number of cuvées with some whole-clusters – 40% is the most we’ve used, but 20-30% is the eventual target.

First we looked at the 2017 straight from barrel – the malo had been finished about a month:
66% new oak. Deep colour and an equally deep nose. Silky dark fruit. Supple, layered, showing good freshness, super purity a hint of salinity and only a hint of barrel flavour. This is really excellent for its age…

Some frost so made almost one-third less.
A slightly fumé nose, but a nice airy width of aroma too. Ooh, this has just an accent of tannin, again saline – super width and I love the textured depth of flavour. There’s a super line of finishing flavour – quite oaked in style but you should anyway wait. The nose slowly adding floral accents. Good wine to wait for…

Profound, spiced nose, growing from the core with a beautiful fruit – like the last reluctantly, slowly, adding floral notes too. A tiny suggestion of reduction, but then its gone. Oaked flavour, like the 2016 with the faintest of tannin modifying the texture. Saline again in the middle and finish. Also the style to wait, but there’s a certain luxury here.

A more open nose with some mature notes already – a more smoky perfume of roses but no whole-clusters here. Brght, fresh, more airy, more open – lots of energy, again the touch of salinity . Open, fresh, energetic and complex wine, touched by, but not too overtly, the barrels. Chewy depth and length of flavour – my favourite with the 17 today…

The nose starts compact and indistinct. Lots of volume and freshness – less density, but lots of energy and a fresh line of flavour . The tannin holds the finish in its grip – very good but behind the last wines.

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