Joseph Drouhin – 2017


Tasted in Beaune with Véronique Drouhin, 18 November 2018.

Maison Joseph Drouhin
7 Rue d’Enfer
21200 Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 24 68 88

Véronique on 2017:
Well, the 2017 vintage was cold in January, but February and March were warmer than normal. For us it’s still an early vintage. April was warm, May had first flowers and veraison was in July. First picking for us was Puligny’s Clos de la Garenne on the 30 August. It was a year with less rain, more sunshine vs the average. We always fear the next problem, actually we had just one as there was no pressure from disease – it was the caterpillars that eat the buds – but given the higher crop potential, perhaps that was a good thing! We must say thank-you to our farmers as there was the frost potential, they aided by burning the straw, which was very efficient – it didn’t create heat, it created smoke which blocked the sun – and it was a beautiful day after the morning frost, so it seems that it worked.

“We used more whole-clusters than normal in 2017 – the stems were so ripe, with such clean fruit and the phenolic maturity was high. The weather was very cooperative at that time too. It’s made the wines fragrant and not herbaceous. We also included a lot of lees in the whites as it was very clean in 2017,

The wines…

A fine selection chez Drouhin in 2017. The Grand Crus are invariably Grand. I love the fact that almost every vintage, their Musigny is one of the most approachable – other producers’ wines taking decades to become interesting – never from here!

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.

2017 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. ‘Not easy to sell(!) we work with them but don’t do the work ourselves’
A big volume of fresh strawberry – yes! Volume, a little mineral, full of complexity – it could be more concentrated but you can drink this now with much pleasure. One of the best of these cuvées chez Drouhin I think.

2017 Rully
That’s a nice round nose. Supple, layered, such a great entry wine with lots of complexity – bravo
2017 Chorey-lès-Beaune
The most important part is Beaumonts, a mix of estate and purchases
Fresh, a little floral – nice. More scale and freshness, more structure with delicious layered flavour – also a triumphant entry wine!

2017 Savigny-lès-Beaune Clos des Godeaux
Estate wine above Lavières
More depth, faint reduction. Wide, fresh, structural but with fine finishing flavour. Wait for this. Plenty of finishing tannin…

2017 Beaune 1er Les Grèves
‘All estate ‘Sur les Grèves’ so high on the hill. Fast growing interest for Beaune 1er’
Intense high-toned fruit. Concentrated and wide, cool delicious fruit. Lots of depth and concentration. excellent!

2017 Beaune 1er Les Sizies
Purchased. If a good vintage, keep separate, used to go in Côte de Beaune, bought the estate of a previous supplier.
Pretty red fruit. Supple, less sweet but with a super depth of flavour – a wine that’s more round – excellent again!

2017 Nuits St.Georges
Modest volume, great fruit though. Less sweet again, good drive and energy, a touch of reduction. Fine finishing – lots of width and persistence. A very good Nuits in the context of the vintage.

2017 Chambolle-Musigny
Not domaine but have bought the grapes for 40 years.
A relatively compact nose. Volume, good depth of tasty, fresh clean, even delicious flavour. Normally excellent and here too, fine cool fruit in the finish…

2017 Vosne-Romanée
More aromatic and open – yes! Volume, complexity, great presence. Lovely wine – excellent.

2017 Gevrey-Chambertin
25-30% 1er in here, each year.
Wide fresh, the nicest nose yet! Supple wide, good volume, depth of melting flavour – indeed really great finishing. Excellent.

2017 Nuits St.Georges 1er Procès
‘Not the easiest to sell, but this cuvee is delicious’ – made since 1996… Owned by Laurent Drouhin
Deeper, darker, very attractive fruit. Layered, extra depth and complexity. Cool fruit again and finishing with great complexity and modest tannin. Bravo – a great wine for me almost every year at this address!

2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
All domaine from seven parcels. A blend of north and south, not a big cuvée this year
Nice and floral. Hmm, layered, complex, engrossing, less clarity, great finish though, but the Nuits is better, despite great length here.

2017 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
A new wine – actually the 2nd vintage – three good suppliers including petits monts, malconsorts and chaumes
A narrow nose that slowly grows into a wide band of finely spiced fruit. Depth layered, delicious and complex. An excellent debut for this wine, a nice diminuendo of finishing flavour!

​2017 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Clos Prieur
Second vintage this year.
Fresh wide, great energy, slowly increasing intensity. Lovely, lovely wine. Very impressive indeed. Needs time for delicious though. Bravo!

Les Blancs

2017 Macon-Lugny Les Crays
It was always from Crays but we didn’t know, so now it’s on the label!
Quite aromatic, attractive. Supple. Saline, with good energy. A tasty wine.

2017 St.Véran
Same sources – 17 partners – 20% in 500l barrels the rest in tank
Fresher, almost minty. Supple in the mouth with good volume. Again, nicely complex. Lovely finishing.

2017 Chablis Reserve de Vaudon
Chablis suffered most from frost. All biodynamic, all stainless steel – same for the 1er crus that follow.
Nose seems good, narrow and saline. Fresh,narrow, a little depth of something extra, not sure. Vibrant, delicious finishing. Excellent.

2017 Chablis 1er Secher
Pretty notes of purity, narrower nose. Drive. Freshness, melting, mouth-watering, delicious again.

2017 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
Made for a while before buying the vines of the supplier
A little more aromatic impact. Line, compact but really fine, complex melting flavour. Bravo

2017 Montagny
Multiple suppliers, 15% with 500l barrel elevage
Quite a tighter nose. Supple, oaked, layered, but very tasty white.

2017 Meursault
Hmm a slug of oak here too. Fresh, bright, with lovely energy. Oaky in the finish too.

2017 Puligny-Montrachet
A little aromatic oak. Open, easy, good if still modest energy. Delicious if a little slight.

2017 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.
Hmm, a nice nose. This is very attractive. Hmm, fresh, line, melting. Good concentration, such a delicious wine – bravo.

2017 Meursault 1er Charmes
Early ripening but all different so 3 different picking dates.
Hmm, nice width, not so deep. Also rather mineral, wide and with fine energy. Excellent, a touch of ginger in the finish plus a touch of modest oak too.

​2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Embazées
All barrel – the 1ers an average 20% new
A modest depth of aroma but an enticing width. Wide, mineral, nice muscle, lovely texture, a touch of reduction but a delicious wine of depth.


White bottling already started and will be complete by January when the reds will start:

2017 Pouilly-Vinzelles
A small AOC of 50 ha. Of-course less well-known than neighbor Pouilly Fuissé. From Chateau Vinzelles – but not allowed to write on the label as they have the rights to that – and they own 17ha, Drouhin controlling 12 just now, some frost, less problems from the hail. One-third in 500 l barrels
Bright, saline, refreshing nose. Good fresh volume in the mouth – lovely layers of complex, almost spiced flavour – great wine for the label

2017 Chablis Les Clos
Frost meant low production, about half – all biodynamic, aged and fermented in oak but none new – a mix of normal and large-format barrels
A more vibrant nose but not as much volume of aroma. Hmm, transparent, melting flavour, such a beautiful, delivery of enjoyment. Excellent, and so long…

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet
12 separate pickings!
hmm, now that’s a fine, wide, not so deep but very composed nosed. Plenty of oak across the palate but layers of delicious flavour and really with a super depth of flavour

2017 Meursault 1er Genevrières
Bought in must – picked early August 30 and Sept 6th
Similar width but much more depth of aroma. Open, spiced, complex, rather classic – not a powerful wine but with really a great finish and length.

2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Morgeot, Marquis de Laguiche
For a long time sold as Morgeot, not Morgeot 1er, but it was always a 1er. Laguiche owned since 1361, together with Drouhin since the 1940s, 3 different harvests
hmm, that’s a brilliant, vibrational invitation to drink. Supple, energetic, more concentration, great depth of flavour – immense – great wine!
2017 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
1921 purchased, 1928 first white vintage. 6 different harvests but now back to normal production volume after half a harvest in 2016
Hmm, fine, faintly spiced more elegant aromas after the Morgeot, though less amplitude. Layered, a very different energy, wide – melting fine texture also a very great and more elegant wine. Top but I’ll take the Morgeot first!

These last two to be bottled at the end of January:

2017 Corton-Charlemagne
From Les Languettes. One of the first Drouhin vineyards to be converted to biodynamics in the mid-1990s.
Hyper-fine aromatic complexity – a narrow but deep aroma. Big, with depth of flavour, growing with amplitude, melting over the palate – a super finish, layers of great flavour. Bravo!

2017 Montrachet
From 5 parcels named 1 to 5 – nice! 3 different picks as there are 2 hectares sept 5-8 as the vines have different ages
Hmm – wide, a little caramel – a nice vibration. Super scale, open, mineral, melting with a fine energy but never shouting, this is a very composed but also a very excellent Montrachet.

Les Rouges…

2017 Savigny-lès-Beaune Aux Guettes
Bought grapes, picked late, first vintage under this label – they also had in 2016 but there was so little it went in the village
Hmm a nice nose that’s vibrantly fruited, no a bit herbed. Volume, supple, very nice texture, depth of excellent fruit, again no herb. Super Savigny.

2017 Beaune 1er Cras
Picked over 2 days – hoping to bottle this separately each year from now was previously in the 1er cru – not owned.
Hmm, wide, faint caramel, but some freshness too. Great volume in the mouth, saline, long, great energy. This is delicious…

2017 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
5 pickings 4-7 sept.
More spiced, no caramel, a fine depth of aroma too. More freshness and because of that more drive. Layers of fresh energetic flavour, hmm – a great finish but here a little caramel too. So long. I prefer the shape of this but generally the Cras is just a little more attractively made-up today and the more delicious.

2017 Vosne-Romanée 1er Petits Monts
Quite late picked with 40% wc
hmm, that’s a complex nose, spiced but maybe a hint of herb too. Ooh – that’s a wine of volume, freshness, structure but energetic delicious fresh flavour – plenty of oak to accompany but what a wine – bravo!
2017 Corton
‘Bought grapes – as our Bressandes has been pulled out’
Hmm, this has a more composed but beautifully complex, almost chalky, aromatic profile. Fresh, direct, growing intensity. Drive to the flavour maybe a hint of herb in that complexity – but a wine that’s big in the finish there’s a powerful line of flavour here. Much less oak and for that reason I’d rather drink this than the Petits Monts today.

2017 Charmes-Chambertin
Ooh deep, deep colour. Musky, full quite an impressive nose with a hint of caramel. Extra sweet, wide and fresh, super intensity – not quite ‘charming’ but a depth of undeniably decadent flavour. Excellent.

2017 Chambertin Clos de Bèze
A blend of estate and purchased grapes – 8 and 18th two pickings 40% whole clusters were used.
Much less colour. A top to bottom nose, much less width, but with very fine aromatic complexity, depth and layers of aroma. Wide, transparent, beautiful texture, depth of flavour too – fine lines – sweeping flavours – it reminds me a great and long piece of carroserie – great wine, complex finishing – bravo!

2017 Clos de Vougeot
30% wc, picked 11 Sept
Round, a hint of caramel, a relatively modest volume of aroma. Ooh – big, fresh, fine architecture – growing intensity. The finish long and interesting. A fine, structural wine with great flavour. Excellent.

2017 Grands-Echézeaux
35% wc picked Sept 8 – all estate grapes.
Not so deep but wide and very complex with a slowly growing depth – it could still be more attractive and focused though. Fuller, fresh complexion like the Clos de Vougeot, plenty of structure and quite vibrantly flavoured in the mid to finishing flavours. Really a great wine, very fine finish, long, long a very long diminuendo. This and the 2016 are as good GEs as I’ve tasted from this address in a long time…

All the last 4 wines between 25-40% whole clusters:

2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Baudes
Plenty of colour here. A decent width of aroma, higher-toned, faintly edged with caramel and flowers. Supple, sweet like the Charmes-Chambertin, nice drive and line to the flavour – there’s freshness here – interestingly it follows the GE very easily. Excellent wine.

2017 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Amoureuses
Hmm, less aromatic density, finer complexity, more a suggestion of, than overt, flowers. Supple, growing depth of flavour, layers – really delicious, decently structured too. Floral finishing. Excellent wine – graceful is an apt word – tenacious length despite the elegance of the finishing flavour…

2017 Bonnes-Mares
Hmm – a vibrantly attractive nose – it pulls you in, like most touched with a faint barrel caramel today. Full, depth of flavour, scale to the volume, layers, simply top class, great wine – bravo! With such beautiful texture.
2017 Musigny
A little more aromatic dimension and scale here – slowly adding further complexity – every sniff, something different. Ooh, incisive, layered, growing with energy and a wall of complexity – yet never oppressive – young Musigny can certainly be too much, but not this wine – is it complete? Well if it ever stops changing in the mouth I’ll tell you – fabulous faint diminuendo for the flavour. Bravo!

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