Tasting at Joseph Drouhin estate

Almost anyone who knows and appreciates Burgundy wine will have heard of the famous Drouhin estate: founded in 1880 and now with the 4th generation at the helm of an estate comprising 73 hectares or 182.5 acres stretching from Chablis, through the Côtes de Nuits and Côtes de Beaune down to the Côte Chalonnaise. The estate has almost 90 appellations with over two thirds being in Premier Cru or Grand Cru. The estate is now run by the four grandchildren.

In 1988 a Joseph Drouhin estate was opened in Oregon in the USA.

I tasted some of their excellent wines at their Oenotheque in the former Parliament Chamber of the Dukes of Burgundy in the centre of Beaune. I was welcomed by the charming and knowledgable Jacquie Morrison, head of the Oenotheque. But before the tasting we had a tour around the 1 hectare (2.5 acre) underground cellar complex, housing several thousand bottles of Drouhin wine.

A bottle of the 1993 vintage

A bottle of the 1993 Clos des Mouettes vintage

This covers a distance from the Hospices de Beaune to the Notre Dame church. Apart from the oustanding collection of wines, you will also marvel at the 2000 year old roman remnants (an original roman city wall and pavement).

An original roman wall

An original roman wall

Jacquie had prepared a choice of 3 whites and 3 reds (chardonnays & pinot noirs of course!)

Chablis 1er Cru 2010 – a dry, zesty wine, typical of the Chablis style, with a touch of lemon and asparagus. The first impression on the palate is fresh, citrusy and clear-cut with a smooth texture. It then shows its ability to hold its finish and provides both mineral and fruity flavours.

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru les Morgeots 2011 – a light yellow colour, intense and very elegant aromas of hawthorn, ripe summer fruits such as apricot and a hint of tobacco and spice (cinnamon). This is a very classy and highly reputable chardonnay which can age for 10 to 12 years easily!

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2011 – Despite its youth, this chardonnay is amongst the most prestigious Grand Cru in the region. Its golden yellow taint, a hint on honey and spice tinged with subtle tones of rose and almonds. An intense and sophisticated wine with a wonderful finish. Even though its quite young, it still gives a moment of pure enjoyment.

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The reds that followed were of equal maestry. 

Vosne Romanée 2009 – An excellent vintage showing both power and complexity. It has that intense grenat colour and hits you with the cherry, nutmeg and leather notes…it’s starting to show signs of truffle too. Great balance between acidity and tannins. This vintage was built to last several years for full enjoyment.

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches 2011 – This emblematique quasi Monopoly vineyard has a fresh attack, bringing forth notes of Morello Cherry and other red fruits such as raspberry. It then moves to a more smoky/liquorice expression. The tannins are firm without being rough. At this age it is both lively and yet refined.

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2007 – A beautiful deep ruby colour evoking notes of cherry, musk and cigar leaves. Velvety tannins, discret acidity and incredible length with a slightly spicy/ripe fruit finish. Again an exceptional wine.

The Oenotheque

The Oenotheque

You can make an appointmeent for a tour and a tasting of 6 of their wines with a price of 20 euros per person for the tasting only and 35 euros including a guided tour.

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