Tasted in Beaune with Véronique Drouhin, 23 November 2017.
Maison Joseph Drouhin
7 Rue d’Enfer
Tel: +33 3 80 24 68 88
Véronique on 2016:
“Prices are not going down this year, unfortunately!
“The 2016 growing year had been particularly testing, but the last months before the harvest made the vintage. The start was rather mild, budburst occurring in the first days of April – similarly precocious to 2015. On the 13th April a large hailstorm hit the Mâconnais and Beaujolais. On the night of the 26th April freezing conditions enveloped Burgundy, the damage was considerable. It also rained a great deal – more than double the average – the growth of the vines slowed. The cool, humid conditions favoured the development of downy mildew – the month of May looked more like April – cold and rainy. Unfortunately on the 13th May it hailed in Chablis – 500 hectares of vines were affected – our estate wasn’t impacted, but it had already been damaged by frost. By the end of May the growth in the vines, which had been similar to 2015 was now more like it was in 2013 – a later harvest vintage.
“Flowering took place around the 20th June, but hail returned in Beaujolais – Romanèche-Thorins – on the 24th. September was beautiful and we started to harvest in the Côte d’Or on September 23rd and on September 28th in Chablis.
“The last years have pushed us in the direction of making small cuvées – so we have small pumps, small presses et-cetera – this wasn’t the case 10 years ago. This was invaluable in 2016. The wines are precise and rather balanced – red and white – 2016 has surprised us all!”
The format was the same as the previous three years – a ‘walk-around’ tasting of cuvées, before a sit-down tasting with some commentary from Véronique.
For the walk-round tasting the whites really outshone the reds – this seemed more to do with the stage of the wines in elevage than intrinsic quality, the better reds being a little too reductive – but the situation was much more balanced for the sit-down tasting. Some top-class wines to be found here in 2016 – as in most years!
2016 Morgon Hospices de Belleville
The Hospices has 14 hectares with 3 appellations. Drouhin started to work with then in 2014. These are kept separate from Drouhin’s other BJs – the domaine helping with advice and equipment, finishing the wines here in Beaune.
Fresh and a hint of herb. Actually a nice depth of flavour, direct, a little burst of flavour – tasty wine.
2016 Brouilly Hospices de Belleville
Width, more depth, nicely red fruit. Bigger volume, more direct interest. Herby but very tasty wine – yum! Floral finishing.
A normal crop – unlike Chorey which was very badly affected. Clos des Mouches was very little affected this year.
A different register of red fruit. More line, melting mid-palate flavour. Yum – a lovely finish.
Less volume but an attractive precise fruit width. More acidity but fine mouth-watering wine with a dash of tannin its the base. Great finish again.
2015 Côte de Beaune
More depth of pretty red fruit. A hint of reduction in the depth but the shape and depth of flavour are excellent. Lovely finishing, yet again.
2016 Cote de Nuits Villages
From Fixin and Premeaux mainly.
A little darker fruit. Wide, less open depth, but a little more tannin and more mouth-watering depth of flavour in the finish – very nice…
2016 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Aux Fourneaux
This is normally blended with Clos Godeaux which this vintage was mainly lost so here is a separate cuvee
A bigger, fresher, more floral nose. Bright, precise, open and complex – super wine!
Not domaine but have bought the grapes for 40 years.
A nicely considered nose, some depth, with a growing floral note – though oak too. Direct, slowly melting flavour, quite structured wine. More depth to the flavour, but today drink the Savigny in preference – and I don’t often say that!
‘I would say that it’s new for us, but we have new a Vosne 1er like the Chambolle 1er which will be blended – exciting for restaurants.’
Lime the Chambolle a tight-ish nose. Modest weight, really not showing too much, but the shape and texture are fine, plus the finish is bright with lovely long, precision…
no problems. 25-30% 1er in there, each year.
Depth, tight, a little floral aroma. More width, generally a more open volume, slowly ingraining flavour of some depth in the finish. A good finish
2016 Beaune 1er Cras
Beaune Cras, normally in the Côte de Beaune, so this now stands alone after some purchases too – ‘it’s always delicious.’
A deep but reductive nose. Lots of flavour volume but also reductive here too. From the shape, feel and length this will be excellent…
2016 Beaune 1er Grèves
Grèves affected by the frost so there’s not much – ‘It’s intense as there wasn’t not much fruit.’
Vibrant, faint oak spice and a little reduction. Very silky, and lots of volume. Mouth watering flavour of more presence. This should also be excellent!
‘Not the easiest to sell, but this cuvee is delicious’ – made since 1996… Owned by Laurent Drouhin
A nice freshness, tighter below. Lovely dimension of flavour in the mouth. Complex, a little saline, mouth-watering, simply top wine! One of the most under-rated wines in Drouhins considerable portfolio!
2016 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
All domaine from seven parcels. A blend of north and south, not a big cuvée this year
Wide, floral faintly oaked. Nine volume, open and a lovely textured wine. The mid-palate has very pretty and partly floral complexity – lovely wine…
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos Prieur
First vintage this year.
Narrow but deep, not particularly reductive though. Nice volume, less precise after the Chambolle but with fine and melting complexity though with some oak in there too.
2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cazetiers
‘Elegant and refined – despite that it comes from Gevrey…’
Spicy oak, wide, not so open below. Lots of volume, but today the oak is relatively forward – complex, long wine of good shape though.
2016 Macon-Bussières Les Clos
1/3 in 500 litre barrels the rest of the elevage in stainless-steel.
Bright, open, ripe but still fresh – very attractive. A little soft in the mouth, but wide and with an attractive flavour, melting well in the finish
Also some 500l barrels – 17 growers, a number are now organic and this is growing.
A nice volume of fresh fruit aroma. More precision, a little more mineral. Nice layers of precise flavour. Very good!
The quality is great but the price is unfortunately growing. Grand crus also 500l barrels, but none new
A lovely width of attractive high tones – modest but – yes! Direct, fresh, great definition. Mineral but not austere.
2016 Chablis 1er Vaillons
A nicer fruit bit less fine definition. Lovely in the mouth, fine line, defined, mineral and long. Super.
The best so far, a little green citrus in support. Wide, fine, precise. Super wine – bravo!
In bio, no new wood for any wine at this level.
Wide, pure, more depth to the fruit though still modestly-so. Lovely mouth-filling volume. Some depth of mouth-watering flavour – top!
Assembly of domaine and bought grapes. Suppliers with vines on the plateau, and here there was no frost. Elevage like Meursault/Chassagne
Depth, faintly savoury fruit. Supple, mouth-watering, but still in a sauvoury rather than sweet fruit style – tasty all the same. The finish is the best part
A classic nose, depth, spice, faint oak. Supple, richness of texture, but a really great and growing depth of flavour. I’d like it to be more alive – but that’s following the Chablis for you, but absolutely delicious!
A nicer top freshness but still great depth of aroma. Mouth-filling, more mineral style, long, leaching flavour. Excellent villages.
Not domaine but always bought the same parcel for many years.
Wide, good open top notes. Plenty of oak showing. Beautiful architecture of volume and structure, I hardly notice the oak here – wide, penetrating flavour. Great!
Width, more floral and fresh – the best nose so far. Wide, melting, mineral but softly precise(!) flavour. A better nose, almost as good flavour vs the Perrières.
2016 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Clos de Garenne
Just one parcel. Garenne a little newer contract vs Perrières and Folatières – very happy with this new producer – a new long term contract. No Genevrières this year as the supplier didn’t have enough to share
Good volume, slowly growing complexity of aroma – impressive! Wide, mineral, precise, layered flavour, the oak is very subtle and the pure flavours are very long. A super wine, despite being a little less showy than the last two!
A small AOC of 50 ha. Of-course less well-known than neighbor Pouilly Fuissé. From Chateau Vinzelles, and they own 17ha, Drouhin controlling 12 just now, some frost, less problems from the hail. One-third in 500 l barrels
Fresh, a little saline. Nice melting flavour on the palate and with a good precision. This is very tasty wine, in fact it’s excellent juicy wine…
‘In 2016 we were lucky to make a decent amount of wine, so no complaints. This already bottled’
Oof, deep, forward vanilla – not my style… In the mouth this has a very fine mineral and fresh style – this is actually very good here, and delicious tasting, but really needs the aromatic oak to fade…
‘Not easy as organically farmed and there was so much rain.’
Lots of aromatic volume, some complexity here, but neither directly mineral nor directly fruity. Great volume in the mouth too – precise, great purity and definition, long – beautifully textured, Just a fabulously finishing flavour – Bravo!
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Embazées
Not affected by frost
A heavy make-up of oak once more – a shame. In the mouth, mineral and with growing intensity – there is great wine here, a little salinity too – complex, long and really great finishing, but today, at least, rather oaky wine…
For a long time sold as Morgeot, not Morgeot 1er, but it was always a 1er.
More floral, no overt make-up and some intensity of pure fruit. Lots of volume in the mouth, complex, intense, melting with fine flavour. Vibrantly long finishing – bravo!
1921 purchased, 1928 first white vintage
Also a little floral and wide, modest intensity but a fine purity. Floral in the volume of flavour – a little softer perhaps purer but no less precise than the Morgeot. Floral finishing. Great! Whilst not necessarily better than the last wine, it’s definitely easier to appreciate today.
From Les Languettes, a nice crop in 2016 with no frost problems. One of the first Drouhin vineyards to be converted to biodynamics in the mid-1990s.
Deep, vibrant depth, a modest oak blemish but not too much. Mouth-filling, vibrant fresh fruit, this is simply a great wine – just fabulous!
There was less frost on the Puligny side than the Chassagne side, so whilst less than 20 hl/ha, not too much less. From 5 parcels named 1 to 5 – nice!
A little vibration of reduction here. I have to say that this sits beautifully in the mouth – less overt volume but a vibration of meting, flavour from the core of this wine – one of the great wines of the vintage here – needs a little time for the nose to finesse, but…
2016 Hospices de Belleville, Fleurie
This is a big, overt nose of good fruit but also quite some spice too. Fills the mouth with fresh and very well textured wine. The fruit is a little cool and but long, fresher a little more herby in style but very attractive. Easily the best vintage for Drouhin’s wines here.
Paid a heavy price with the frost, some 1er cru in this too
Deeper colour than the Fleurie! A fine nose of deep fruit – precise and pure darker-red pinot fruit. Wide, really a great depth and texture for the label – top class villages wine this vintage.
A little over 10% whole clusters on this vintage.
Lots of aromatic volume but it’s rather a reductive performance. In the mouth too, lots of volume and a great depth of flavour. Still a little reductive but gorgeous finishing – beautiful red fruit. Needs work but this is great.
2016 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
The plan is to go forward here and market this wine like their well-known Chambolle 1er Cuvée. Chaumes, Malconsorts and Petits Monts but not the PM of the domaine – all purchases.
Deeper colour. Ooh – that smells really good, deep, fresh notes of typical Vosne spiciness and some flowers. More structural but there’s both dimension of flavour and a great structure – less fine textured as the Beaune, but such great darker-red fruit. Also a great addition to the range, slowly with a little floral complexity.
This is quite a vibrant nose though some part of that is reductive. Fills the mouth with fresh deliciousness – oh this is really so good with a freshness nothing heavy it dances over the palate – so great!
2016 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Amoureuses
Probably 60-70% whole cluster to give more volume to the fermentation.
A big, round nose that really lacks some delicacy today, but behind this weight is a halo of very attractive perfume – this very slowly gets better and better in the glass. Bigger in the mouth but with more weight, more perfumed flavour – balanced but not the same freshness as the last wine. This has really the density of a grand cru this year. I have a preference for the overt delicious freshness of the last wine – but – I would never turn this down…
Really deep colours for this and the following grand cru. A super nose of density but a slowly escaping granular complexity – very fine! Big, intense, but at the edges this is far from austere – the balanced concentration might take you back a little but this is muscular, great wine. Super weight and fresh finishing… This is a great Clos de Vougeot that you should have no fear of!
Roughly 80% whole cluster, 350 litres fermented in a 500 litre barrel.
A little less aromatic width, but with deeps and highs – beautiful purity – super attractive aromas here. An extra freshness and complexity, really complex, almost more tannin than the Clos de Vougeot(!) Great finishing weight. Wow wine – the last was great but this is wow!
Ah, sometimes I think that I was made for Bèze (more so than Chambertin) and the aromas of this wine are so – almost as good as the Bruno Clair version this year. Sweetness of fruit, great weight but with freshness and density – this is really rather concentrated in the middle – layered flavour of some richness. Great wine, the Clair is more airy but this is also great wine…
Three barrels, possibly 70-80% whole clusters
This nose is practically modest versus the Bèze, but grows very slowly in volume and eventually with a floral halo too. Here the flavour is more in the direction of a whole-cluster perfume of roses – this is quite something. Really a top, sumptuous grand cru, but marginally I prefer the Bèze.
5 hl/ha. Two barrels.
Just a twist of reduction, but a good volume of aroma, not super open like the last two though. Lots of volume in the mouth, also a little reductive line that runs through this wine. Lots of aspects that are delicious, particularly a great finish, but it’s a bit of a shame that it’s showing relatively modestly today…
And for the fun
It’s now 30 years since Domaine Drouhin Oregon began to make wine – “1988 were the first wines, despite no water or electricity – and the press didn’t fit in the winery – but it’s still a great memory,” says Véronique. “We brought the wine back to Beaune, friends might have thought we were crazy but they liked the wine!” Continuing, “Dundee Hills is the DDO AVA area, this next wine is from a different AVA. Roserock has 45 hectares of pinot and 5 of chardonnay. Because a lack of space some friends do some of the fermentations. Some cuvées from Roserock stood out – a woman from 1870, Zephirine had a rose named for her, and she was called Zephirine Drouhin! We are 45 minutes from the ocean. It’s volcanic soils here – so very different but with a nice clay in the soil. I’m really happy with all the old vintages – except 97 as that was so complicated – I’d love to share them with you all…”
2014 Roserock, Zephirine
The colour is not unlike that of the Musigny. Deep, complex and a little spicy. Bright, fresh delicious fruit – really delicious fruit – not overtly pinot for me – at least from a Burgundian perspective – but this is simply a delicious wine of fresh flavour and fine depth of texture – richness of flavour with a good freshness. This is a great combination!