Posts Tagged ‘joseph drouhin’

I am just back from a short trip to Burgundy, well specifically Beaune where I got to visit the cellars of Joseph Drouhin and the Chateau Corton Grancey owned by Louis Latour. Beaune is not easy to get to and other than hiring a car you will have a number of transfers to make. I flew to Paris, got the RER to Gare de Lyon, the TGV to Dijon and the TER to Beaune. There is a slightly less complicated journey if you fly direct to Lyon and get the train to Beaune but I was meeting my friend in Paris.

We arrived in Beaune at around 2.30 and headed straight for Drouhin’s Offices and cellars on Rue Enfer. We were greeted by Frederic Drouhin, the Great Grandson of Joseph and taken down to the cellars by Jean-Pierre Cropsal.

In theses cellars they age some of their most prestigious wines and walking past the barrels you will see the names of famous climats and appellations such as Clos des Mouches and Gevrey-Chambertin. The tour was short and we proceeded to the tasting room to taste and compare a number of different wines. The whites were first and the line up was impressive.

We started with St Veran 2010 which was fresh but with ripe fruit and decent length, then straight into the Domaine Drouhin Vaudon (Drouhin’s property in Chablis) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2008 which is way too young but showing it’s pedigree in it’s concentration, finesse and length.  Then Puligny Montrachet 2009 was lighter in body but concentrated and expressive with some of the oak showing through and finally the Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru 2009 was the pick of the bunch, the finesse of these better wines is so apparent when tasted against a village appellation.

The red wines were equally impressive with the line up as follows. The Chorey les Beaune 2008 was fairly simple and possibly didn’t show as well coming after the whites. The Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 was still young showing good concentration of fruit, balanced acidity, medium plus body and medium finish, no thin wine here. The Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2008 was much more seductive with violet perfumed notes and almost sweet dark cherry flavours mixed with clove and vanilla spice. Finally we tasted the Clos des Mouches 1er Cru Rouge 2009. Mouches does not refer to flies but to bees. ‘Mouches a miel’ means honey flies.

We thanked our hosts and headed for Place Carnot and on to Rue Monge. Rue Monge has 2 of my favourite places in Beaune. First is Magnum where you can sit outside and catch some Sun while drinking a glass of Cremant and the second is Bourgogne Bistro where you can do exactly the same but have a meal also. 

Although in the dead centre of Beaune I have never felt I was being treated as a tourist in these places, this cannot be said of a number of other establishments. Part des Anges comes to mind where I have never received the genuine welcome you get in the former.








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What are the odds of tasting three faulty wines in the space of a week?  One was in a pub/restaurant where I just thought the wine was crap but it was only after I had left that I started to think about what might have been wrong with the wine. Another I bought in a good independent wine shop and the final wine was one that I regularly drink. Apart from being oxidised the other common denominators were that they were all chardonnay and all from Burgundy – albeit one from Macon and the other two were Chablis.

I tend to drink Chablis regularly so am attuned to the taste and profile, what I found most surprising was that in the space of a week a wine that I had regularly tasted up to that point was still fresh with good fruit and indications that it would last another year or 2. Now it may be that I was unlucky and that other bottles of the same wine will be ok but it has made me change my preference for a particular Chablis producer

There has been much discussion about prematurely oxidised Burgundies or premox if you like. The alledged causes vary from lowered sulphur levels, corks to battonage – especially extensive stirring of the lees after malolactic fermentation.

The main detectable fault for oxidised wine is the darker colour, the sherry nose and the flavour of bruised apple. With age this is what can happen to wine anyway; it is a problem when the wine should have potential to age.

Here is a Chablis that is not oxidised and one which is fast becoming my new favourite. Drouhin Reserve de Vaudon 2008. Typical Chablis flavours of citrus and green apple, but soft as it has been aged 12 months in oak – none of which is new. Available is most good independent off licences and wine shops

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Could Rully rouge become the red equivalent of Macon-Villages white wine? Unfortunately no. One of the problems for red burgundy is that there is no readily recognisable equivalent that is consistent, produces enough and is is covered by one appellation, Regional or Commune. White Macon, including Villages & Commune wines tend to produce around 204,600 hectolitres per year. 1 hectolitre is equivalent to 133 bottles so that is 27,211,800 bottles of white Macon. Rully produces 5431 hectolitres of red wine per year or 722,323 bottles. Even Cote Challonaise red produces a relatively small amount, namley 18,843 hl (including rose). Adding Cote de Beaune and Nuits to that mix will only bring in another 40,000 hl of red wines.

My point is that the red wines of Burgundy are often just associated with Gevrey-Chambetin or Nuits-St-George and hence there is a perception that they only produce expensive red wines. Even the regional reds of Beaune or Nuits have a less than enviable reputation with the impression that you don’t get value for money. On the other hand Macon white is extremely popular ,whether people realise it is a white burgundy or not is another story, and it comes in at a good price point that generally offers value for money.

Chateau de Rully 2007, Domaine Rodet.

I was at the launch of the Superquinn French wine sale and I saw a Rully priced on discount at €12. I was intrigued to see how it would fare representing a good value red burgundy. I have to say that it was really good. It was very soft, nice red fruit, gentle acidity that was not sour and quite juicy. A really easy going red that would be perfect introduction to what bargain red burgundy should taste like


I then tasted a different Rully from the same vintage. This was a Joseph Drouhin, Rully which would normally retail at just under €20. This was a much more serious wine. The palate had more stucture and depth of flavour with an elegant and silky texture. A wine you know will continue to age further and not dry out. Refined aromas of red fruit, including some raspberry and cherry notes. Great length on the finish and worth spending a few quid on.

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