Travelling Burgundy – I do taste a lot of good wines and meet a lot of talented and great people … from Meurilly on the Côte to the outskirts Beaune, from a diminutive cellars to the Drouhin facilities, from Nicolas Faure to Veronique Drouhin.
Different worlds one could say … yet in the end … the smallest cuvée at Maison Joseph Drouhin is not much bigger that the largest cuvée at Domaine Nicolas Faure. The attention and care taken is however comparable, and make no mistake, Veronique knows her wines – although there are many – and the attention to detail is simply impressive given the amount and number of wines produced.
This year I had the opportunity to taste some of the 2017s from Maison Joseph Drouhin from cask with winemaker Veronique Drouhin – a treat indeed .. and an opportunity to get an early view from one of the large houses in a vintage like 2017 … is very useful to be honest, as one get another perspective on the vintage.
I also got the opportunity to see the impressive Drouhin facilities outside of Beaune – where the wines are made, bottled and packed. From the big cuvées made in large numbers to the Musigny Grand Cru made in small quantities.
The white 2017s at Maison Joseph Drouhin
I had the opportunity to taste a fine selection of the white 2017s from Drouhin – far from all – but some highlights from the large lineup of wines. I tasted a bit more of the reds – and these will be covered in a separate article.
To the white 2017s!
The whites at Drouhin are airy, elegant and refined – a bit on the charming, rich and generous side – with the vintage being a bit solaire …
The whites I tasted at Drouhin all had a fine balance and freshness – and not showing hot and very ripe tendencies like at some other estates … Veronique and her team have found a very good balance, and although the yields were generous in some cases – I do find a fine intensity and concentration in all the whites reviewed below.
The whites are charming, balanced and delightful – yet lacking the ultimate concentration of the 2014s – but less will do seen from my perspective.
The 2017 dilemma and paradox – seen in general
The 2017 vintage turned out to be generous – producing very good yields and in fact the problem was in some cases too high yields giving diluted and watery wines.
After 2016 a lot of growers were very keen to harvest a good and ample yield, and was therefore in some cases reluctant to prune too hard to keep yields low, and kept the harvest ample … until the end or until a green harvest. After the frost in 2016 the vigor in the vineyards could in some cases produce more than 80 hl/ha and in some cases beyond the level for producing quality wine.
For the quality an early adjustment of the crop would have been the best, but in some cases this was not done – due to the risk of getting another year with low yields. This dilemma was also a challenge for the negociants, as some of the grapes they were offered were harvested at too high yields.
Drouhin saw these problems and had to disregard some of these diluted grapes, whereas they had the opportunity to control the yields with the grapes from their own vineyards.
To be honest it was a hard dilemma – and it was understandable if a producer would go for a high yield, if they lost 90% during the frost in the 2016 vintage.
The problem appear to have been worst with the reds, as the Chardonnays coped better with the higher yields and kept a better balance and aromatic intensity even at higher yields.
Bottom line – Drouhin have done well in 2017 and the wines I tasted with Veronique all had sufficient concentration and intensity.
The white 2017s from Joseph Drouhin
I had the opportunity to taste the following whites with Veronique Drouhin in May 2018:
- Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Beaune Blanc 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Mersault 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Puligny-Montrachet 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Chassagne-Montrachet 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Meursault Les Perrières 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Corton Charlemagne Owned 2017
- Joseph Drouhin, Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 2017
Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Beaune Blanc 2017
The Côte de Beaune Blanc 2017 is showing the positive side of the 2017 vintage – it’s a pretty wine, with an airy and quite delicate fruit. It has sufficient concentration … feeling forward, charming and on the fresh side. It’s effortless and harmonious with a nice acidity and balance for the vintage – offering delightful drinking.
(Drink From 2019) – Above Average+ – (84 – 85p) – bottled July 2017, tasted 29/05/2018
Joseph Drouhin, Meursault 2017
The Meursault is textbook with a very elegant and airy fruit. It has a lovely balance, with a nice acidity and a cool fruit for the vintage – offering the freshness and energy needed to make it interesting. Lovely balance in my view.
(Drink From 2023) – Very Good – (87 – 88p) – bottled October 2017, tasted 29/05/2018
Joseph Drouhin, Chassagne-Montrachet 2017
The Chassagne is a step up concentration, with a good mineral impression. It’s on the cool side with a lovely effortless balance – nice mineral impression as a backbone. Again textbook – great to see how Drouhin at this level manage to make wines that are so typical for the terroir vintage after vintage.
(Drink From 2024) – Very Fine – (87 – 88p) – bottled October 2017, tasted 29/05/2018
Joseph Drouhin, Puligny-Montrachet 2017
I do favour the Puligny in the Drouhin range of village wines – due to it’s clear mineral expression. The Puligny minerality show beautifully in this wine, and paired with the lovely effortless 2017 fruit it does offer a lovely complexity and harmonious drinking. Elegant and airy with a cool and citrus infused minerality.
(Drink From 2024) – Very Good – (88 – 89p) – bottled October 2017, tasted 29/05/2018
Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 2017
The Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc is always a treat – and the 2017 vintage has produced a very charming and seductive version of this wine. The airy and delicate fruit is paired with the generosity of the terroir, adding a creamy texture and quite considerable intensity and concentration. The nose is quite exotic with rich yet quite cool orchard fruits – honey and acacia flowers. On the palate intense, balanced and very airy – maintaining the effortless feel of the vintage … better than the 2016? – difficult to say, but in a sense more delicate and refined.
(Drink From 2025) – Very Fine – (93 – 94p) – cask sample, tasted 29/05/2018
Joseph Drouhin, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 2017
This is a special wine made from very old vines (80+ years) and a large percentage of millerandage berries. The nose is rich and intense with a quite aromatic and mineral expression. On the palate intense and quite powerful for the vintage – still elegant and effortless – offering lovely length and depth .. beautifully balanced with a fine freshness and mineral intensity.
(Drink From 2026) – Fine+ – (92 – 94p) – cask sample, tasted 29/05/2018
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Tasting Notes for this producer
- Maison Joseph Drouhin, Musigny 1993 March 30, 2018
- Maison Joseph Drouhin, Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 2015 March 30, 2018
- Maison Joseph Drouhin, Musigny 2015 March 30, 2018
- 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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