Maison Joseph Drouhin is in my view among the very best of the large negociants in Burgundy these days.
But to be honest – to speak about Maison and the associated Negociant term – is somehow both misleading and old fashioned – as this is very much a family and estate operation.
Drouhin is still a negocaint business – but the core of this family business is clearly a large estate with own vineyards – where the care of the vineyards – biodynamically – and the winemaking is seen holistically with a certain quality level and style as objectives.
Most of the top end wines are made as Domaine wines – and the negociant wines are finely integrated both quality and stylewise.
This is a seamless family operation, and one feel the harmony in the wines and when visiting the estate.
I was received by Veronique Drouhin who is responsible for the winemaking – the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Veronique.
Yes this is a large producer – nevertheless one feel the harmony and the seamless and friendly atmosphere within the estate, starting with Veronique, who is very friendly and seem to have hands on even with the smallest details – quite a accomplishment given the size of the estate.
As I have stated previously – the soul of the winemaker and owners is often reflected in the wines – and this is also the case here. Elegant, effortless, seamless and refined are words that springs to mind when tasting the Drouhin wines.
It was my first time visiting Drouhin – and to be honest I normally avoid the large houses for a full tasting – as this is perhaps not what is the focus of many of the readers of Winehog.
I must however say that the quality of some of the big houses have improved tremendously over the last 10 – 15 years and therefore the wines even in the lower end should be on the radar of all Burgundy lovers and collectors. And if one house does deserve to be on the radar – then it’s Drouhin.
For one the fact that they early on embraced Biodynamic viticulture secondly as they still are family owned and managed – with Veronique responsible for the vinification, her brother Philippe Drouhin is responsible for the vineyards and the biodynamic approach, Frédéric Drouhin is the manager or COO of Drouhin and Laurent Drouhin is responsible for the important US market. Finally their father Robert Drouhin is still a part of this fine family business.
A strong team and a visionary estate it seems – but also an estate that take it’s role in Burgundian history and tradition seriously.
So here we are – the notes for the reds!
The red 2016s from Joseph Drouhin
I had the opportunity to taste the following reds at Joseph Drouhin – they do make more wines – but this is indeed a large selection of the wines. Notes for the whites will follow.
- Joseph Drouhin, Rully Red 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Chorey-Les-Beaune 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Beaune 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Savigny Lès Beaune 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Nuits Village 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Cras 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Grèves 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Clos de Mouches rouge 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle Musigny 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin Cazetiers 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Nuits-Saint-Georges Procès 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée Petits-Monts 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Clos de Vougeot 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Grands Echezeaux 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Musigny 2016
Compared to other large producers Drouhin seem to have a fine consistency style wise seen over the lineup produced – not easy in a vintage like 2016 I might add.
The wines seem to show as one would expect from the different terroir – and this is not only a sign of consistency, but it also prove that the wines are very true to the terroirs – and that the relatively gentle hand in the winemaking does let the terroirs sing. Presumably the biodynamic viticulture could also be responsible for a more defined expression of terroir.
The style is on the elegant and light-footed side, and in a sense very Burgundian – not trying to make concentrated and big wines. These are wines of detail and finesse rather than power Burgundies.
Joseph Drouhin, Rully Red 2016
The red Rully 2016 is a fresh and quite elegant wine. It’s pure and airy offering relaxed drinking on the terrace with lighter summer food or just as an aperitif. I like this light-footed and quite unpretentious expression of pinot.
(Drink From 2018) – Good – (84 – 85p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Chorey-Les-Beaune 2016
The Chorey-Les-Beaune is a significant step up in concentration – presumably low yields due to the April 2016 frost. The fruit is ripe and more generous with sweeter red fruit in the nose. On the palate more intense and quite profound – a more serious wine in a sense. This calls for more substantial food – yet still very enjoyable on it’s own. Quite an intense wine for this level.
(Drink From 2020) – Good – (86 – 87p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Beaune 2016
The Côte de Beaune is having some difficulties after the rather intense Chorey-Les-Beaune. It’s offering nice fruit and a pure expression of fruit – but is perhaps lacking a bit of focus currently. It’s early and perhaps it will reclaim it’s definition after the bottling.
(Drink From 2018) – Good – (85 – 86p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Savigny Lès Beaune 2016
Savigny Lès Beaune was heavily hit by the April 2016 frost – yields very low indeed in many places. This is pretty clear when one tasted the Savigny Lés Beaune 2016 from Drouhin. The bouquet offer intense red and dark berries – almost brimming with millerandage notes. This is also the case on the palate – lovely intensity from the low yields – fine millerandage feel with a delightful juiciness. High level for a Savigny village – highly recommended.
(Drink From 2023) – Good+ – (87 – 88p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Nuits Village 2016
The Côte de Nuits Village is back to a more normal level of intensity – 2016 is quite a bumpy ride due to the shifts in concentration. The nose is offering quite detailed red and dark fruit – relatively floral and forward. On the palate good intensity and length – showing very well indeed.
(Drink From 2021) – Good – (86 -87p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Cras 2016
One of my favourite terroirs in Beaune – a bit overlooked – but can produce some quite spectacular wines in the hands of the right people. Slight reduction .. somewhat covering a ripe and generous fruit – elegant and quite floral and expressive. On the palate lovely juiciness and mineral energy – delightful balance and feel. A lovely Beaune in the making.
(Drink From 2026) – Fine+ – (92 – 93p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Grèves 2016
The Beaune Greves is a step up in concentration and intensity … a very elegant wine. The nose offer detailed red and dark berries – lovely depth and mineral expression. On the palate lovely intensity with a millerandage feel – very juicy and energetic fruit – long with a nice mineral impression in the finish. Textbook Beaune – this is why Beaune wines should not be overlooked.
(Drink From 2027) – Fine+ – (92 – 93p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Clos de Mouches rouge 2016
Last but not least of the Beaune wines – the Drouhin signature wine Clos de Mouches. This is a deep rich and intense wine – a hedonistic wine build for enjoyment. The nose is brimming with generous fruit presented with a delicate mineral touch. On the palate more silky and generous than the Beaune Greves – with it’s supple and lacy midplate fruit. A lovely treat ..
(Drink From 2027) – Very Fine – (92 – 94p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle Musigny 2016
Chambolle Musigny was very badly hit by the frost especially in the southern and the core of the appellation. The Drouhin Chambolle village are made from plots bellow the village, hence also marked by the frost and therefore low yields.The nose is classic Chambolle with a nice mineral impression bringing forward a lovely detailed fruit. On the palate low yield intensity – though not extreme – very juicy and energetic fruit – gorgeous mid-palate verve – culminating in a mineral driven finish. A very balanced and lovely effort.
(Drink From 2026) – Very Good+ – (90 – 91p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée 2016
The Vosne-Romanée is a lovely and balanced effort. The nose is offering lovely detailed fruit with a nice floral spicyness – textbook. On the palate quite lush and generous with a lovely intensity and a very harmonious feel. A cool and elegant Vosne in the making.
(Drink From 2026) – Very Good – (89 – 90p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin 2016
The Gevrey-Chambertin village is a step up in concentration of flavours – with some 1er cru fruit included in the Cuvée. Slight reduction – yet a very very charming and intense fruit is lurking underneath. A quite generous wine it seems – with quite some intensity for the level. The reduction made it somewhat difficult to evaluate – yet the potential is definitely there.
(Drink From 2026) – Very Good – (89 – 91p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur 2016
The Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur is from the upper 1er cru part of the vineyard – located just below Mazis-Chambertin. The nose offer generous red and darker berries – fine intensity and a nice earthy mineral touch. On the palate lovely intesity and balance – presumably also yields in the lower range – it’s vibrant and juicy offering a fine expression of Gevrey.
(Drink From 2028) – Fine – (90 – 92p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Gevrey-Chambertin Cazetiers 2016
This was quite reductive and difficult to taste – for me at least. I will have to catch this on a better day to rate it – but it’s no doubt a fine wine. Please note the reduction is not a problem – as it will disappear presumably even before bottling – so it was just a bad day to taste the sample.
Joseph Drouhin, Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Procès 2016
The Les Procès is quite airy and showing good intensity – coming form the 1er cru located south of the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. The nose offer quite forward fruit and a nice mineral impression. On the palate good fruit and intensity – harmonious and balanced. It’s not really a terroir that speaks to me to be honest – but a fine wine in the making nevertheless.
(Drink From 2027) – Very Good+ – (89 – 91p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru 2016
The Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru from Drouhin do however sing .. what a gorgeous wine. It comes from a selection of 1er crus – Les Haut Doix, Les Feuselottes, Les Plantes, Aux Combottes, Aux Beaux Bruns and Les Noirots i.e. fruit from both south and middle of the village – “the Chambolle side” – and from the Morey side. This wine is clearly influenced by the April 2016 frost – very low yields in some of the areas mentioned. The result is a very intense and juicy wine. The nose is bursting with juicy fruit and a lovely Chambolle minerality. On the palate layers of fruit – intense, vivacious and truly delightful. It’s deep, long, vibrant – this is highly recommended and perhaps the “hidden” treasure of the Drouhin lineup in 2016.
(Drink From 2028) – Very Fine – (93 -94p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Vosne-Romanée Petits-Monts 2016
The slope in Vosne-Romanée was not badly affected by the frost – actually quite normal yields in Petits Monts. So this is quite a contrast to the Chambolle 1er cru – but nevertheless a delightful wine. The bouquet offer lovely detailed fruit – quite floral – with a filigree and refined mineral impression. On the palate juicy fruit – fine intensity and balance. It does struggle to match the intensity of the Chambolle – but in it’s own refined and delicate way it offer a lovely expression of Vosne, and this refined premier cru terroir.
(Drink From 2028) – Very Fine – (93 – 94p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2016
The Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 2016 is also a delightful glass. Les Amoureuses was only partly hit by the frost – and the lower parts were giving normal yields – so not a wine made from very low yields. Slight reduction here – but not enough to hide the fine and vibrant mineral infused fruit that is brimming from the glass. On the palate a quite lightfooted and elegant fruit – refined and with a lovely display of this lovely terroir. It’s effortlessly elegant and harmonious – certainly not a power wine.
(Drink From 2028) – Very Fine – (93 – 94p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Clos de Vougeot 2016
This is a great vintage for Clos de Vougeot – and the Drouhin Clos de Vougeot is not disappointing. The frost also hit Clos de Vougeot but not quite as bad as the southern part of Chambolle-Musigny – so yields are low but presumably not extremely low. The bouquet is quiet forward and expressive showing lovely fruit and a nice view to the terroir. On the palate rich, generous and balanced – with a lovely intensity and a nice freshness from the acidity. There is a delicate balance between the low yield intensity and the fresh and vibrant acidity of the 2016 vintage – that makes for a quite unique vintage – for this often disappointing terroir. That being said Drouhin have impressed me a lot with their Clos de Vougeot in recent vintages – as is now one of the top end producers on this large Grand Cru.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Fine++ – (94 – 95p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Grands Echezeaux 2016
Grands Echezeaux was very badly hit by the April 2016 frost. This translates into very low yields and some very intense and concentrated wines. The expression of these wines should be interpreted with caution, as they seem to carry their weight differently – so prudence and patience is called for. The Drouhin Grands-Echezeaux was in November 2017 very rich and even dense, showing the full weight and intensity of the low yield. The fruit is juicy, intense and with a fine underlying energy and tension. It offers tremendous intensity and it will be exiting to see how it will settle down after bottling. Great potential – but not unfolding at this stage.
(Drink From 2032) – Potentially Outstanding – (93 – 96p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2016
The Chambertin Clos de Bèze is much easier to comprehend. The nose offer layers of generous red and dark fruits – refined, focused and with a lovely cool feel and supported by the intense and powerful minerality of this fine terroir. On the palate layered intense fruit – elegant yet intense with a magnificent mineral driven finish. An outstanding Clos de Bèze in the making.
(Drink From 2034) – Outstanding – (95 – 96p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Griotte-Chambertin 2016
The Griotte-Chambertin is a charming and generous wine … and quite typical for the terroir. The nose is bursting with fruit – red and dark cherries. On the palate generous, lacy and even silky fruit served with a fine lively minerality. Definitely a seductive wine – but is not matching the regal mineral focus of the CLos de Bèze (in my view).
(Drink From 2030) – Very Fine+ – (93 – 95p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
Joseph Drouhin, Musigny 2016
The Musigny is a magnificent effort, and even though frost hit the Musigny appellation, this does not seem to be very influenced by this – meaning it offers a zen like balance and effortless expression of this great terroir. The bouquet display gorgeous cool red and dark berry fruit – notes of blueberries, pomegranate – infused with a intense and filigree limestone minerality. On the palate intense, airy and delicate fruit – very balanced and with the powerful minerality being infused and coated with cool and vivacious fruit. Not a power Musigny – but a zen like kiss of fruit and refinement from this great terroir.
(Drink From 2037) – Outstanding+ – (96 – 97p) – cask sample 07/11/2017
The 2016 vintage is intriguing, with the frost playing a big role in how the wines turns out. It seems like the biodynamic viticulture have eased the stress caused by the frost – and that producers that are working organic and biodynamic have made more balanced wines in the frost affected ares – this is my theory at least based on the wines I have tasted. I do feel that most of the low yield reds from Drouhin offer lovely balance.
If I have to pick amongst the wines tasted I would pick the following.
The Chorey-Les-Beaune and the Savigny Lès Beaune and the Côte de Nuits Village in the lower end of the range – as they do offer a lot of wine for the level.
In the next level I need to recommend the Chambolle-Musigny village and the Beaune Cuvées – Cras, Grèves and CLos de Mouches – as I do think they are showing very well indeed with a fine potential.
The Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru is a fantastic wine – and is perhaps the the hidden gem of the lineup – tremendous energy and verve.
Moving to the Grand Crus I find the Clos de Vougeot very fine and potentially outstanding – great year for this appellation. And finally the Clos de Bèze and the Musigny – that are in a different league. The Musigny is a true beauty in my view.
Tasting Notes for this producer
- Maison Joseph Drouhin, Clos de Vougeot 2014 May 25, 2016
- Maison Joseph Drouhin, Echezeaux 2014 May 25, 2016
- Joseph Drouhin, Meursault Goutte d’Or 1964 December 23, 2014
- Joseph Drouhin, Pommard Les Boucherottes 1962 December 21, 2014
- Joseph Drouhin, Vosne Romanee Petits-Monts 2007 October 9, 2011
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