Wines of Maison Joseph Drouhin

by artfuldiner on August 6, 2018

in Artful Diner Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

Drouhin, Maison JosephMaison Joseph Drouhin, based in Burgundy, France, was founded in 1880. The estate, which owns vineyards in Chablis, the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, and Côte Chalonnaise, is comprised of 73 hectares (182.5 acres) and is one of the largest in the region.  Today the estate is still family owned. Both Maison Joseph Drouhin and Domaine Drouhin in Oregon are operated by the great grandchildren of the original founder, Joseph Drouhin.

The estate, which adheres to biodynamic principles, currently produces 90 different wines – from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes – that range from extraordinary to everyday quaffable. The annual production is approximately 400,00 cases per year, over 25% of which is exported to the United States.

Drouhin-Boss, Veronique, WinemakerVéronique Drouhin-Boss, the fourth-generation winemaker of the Drouhin Family, has crafted every drop of wine produced at Domaine Drouhin Oregon since the first vintage in 1988. She also now oversees the winemaking at Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, producing some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines on both sides of the Atlantic.

Noted below, in ascending price order, are seven (7) of the Drouhin wines that are well worth seeking out…

Joseph Drouhin La Forêt Pinot Noir 2016, $18.99*: The grapes for this wine were drawn from a dozen appellations, mostly Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Nuits. They were handpicked, pressed, and the juice was macerated and vinified with indigenous yeasts for two to three weeks in temperature-controlled vats. Some of the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks, the remainder in oak barrels to increase complexity. This is a charming wine, displaying a bright ruby color and aroma of fresh berries. On the palate, it is smooth and elegant with light tannins and excellent acidity. A perfect red wine to pair with the lighter cuisines of summer… And the price is right.

Drouhin, Maison - St. Veran 2016Joseph Drouhin Saint-Veran 2016, $21.99*: The 2016 Saint-Veran hails from the Macon region of Burgundy and is similar stylistically to its slightly more expensive cousin, the 2015 Pouilly-Fuisse, noted immediately below. Both share a golden hue, a slightly greenish reflection in the glass, and a marvelously refreshing taste. The texture and alcohol content (13%) are just right. Lively & fresh on the palate, exhibiting a pleasant roundness at the finish, this is an excellent Chardonnay for leisurely quaffing on a warm summer’s afternoon … And, once again, the price is right.

Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Fuisse 2015, $29.99*: The 2015 recently received 90 points (100-point scale) from the Wine Spectator, which noted: “Though rich and juicy, this features good underlying acidity that keeps this fresh and focused. White peach, apple and lemon flavors align with a chalky feel at the end. Drink now through 2022.” On the palate, this is a round and creamy Chardonnay, exhibiting a touch more body than the Saint-Veran, yet it remains refreshingly pleasant right through to its long ethereal finish and aftertaste. Highly recommended. An absolutely stunning wine at an excellent price point.

Drouhin, Domaine - ArthurDomaine Drouhin Arthur Chardonnay 2015, $36.99*: The Chardonnay Arthur is produced from 100% Dijon clones, grown on the Drouhin Family Estate in the Dundee Hills, Oregon. First planted in 1990, the low yields of these vines and their early ripening ability have been a perfect match for the Oregonian climate and soils. The 2015 Arthur, which is named for winemaker Véronique Drouhin-Boss’s son, recently received stunning reviews from both the Wine Enthusiast and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This exceptional vintage was partially fermented in French oak; the remainder in stainless steel – the result was a wine of incredible delicacy. And I would certainly agree with the winemaker that the 2015 Arthur exhibits both the refreshing crisp acidity of a fine Chablis and the body and richness of an extraordinary Meursault. A marvelous wine… and worth every penny of its $36.99 price tag.

Drouhin, Maison Joseph - Gevrey-ChambertinJoseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 2015, $64.99*: Whereas the La Forêt Pinot Noir noted above is a perfectly acceptable entry level wine that is designed for daily quaffing, the 2015 Gevrey-Chambertin is a Pinot that is meant to be savored and saved for those special occasions when only an outstanding vintage will do. This marvelously supple red wine recently received a whopping 92 points from the Wine Spectator, which noted its beautiful balance, long finish, and succulent acidity. The review also mentioned that this wine would undoubtedly be at its best from 2020 through 2033. Perhaps. But its bright ruby color, intensely fruity nose, and velvety texture are irresistible at the present moment. This is Pinot Noir at its very best. Not to be missed.

Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embazées 2014, $99.99*: Chassagne-Montrachet AC (Appellation Contrôlée) is a village in the southern part of Côte d Beaune. Although best known for its Chardonnay-based white wines, until the late 1980s, the 800-plus acres in Chassagne-Montrachet actually produced more red wines, which are made from Pinot Noir. However, the popularity of the village’s white wines, soon reversed this situation. Wines from the Chassagne-Montrachet AC and the village’s thirteen premier cru vineyards are of high quality. And, because Chassagne-Montrachet doesn’t have the notoriety of the neighboring village of Puligny-Montrachet, prices are somewhat less. The best premier cru vineyards for white wines include En Caillerets, Les Embazées, Moreot, Les Grandes Ruchottes, and Les Vergers.

Drouhin, Maison Joseph - Chassagne-Montrachet EmbazeesThe 2014 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embazées, which recently received 92-94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, is simply an incredible wine. The eleven (11) months spent in oak before bottling account for its delightful complexity. And, opposed to many ponderous California Chardonnays, it possesses body… but without weight. It is fresh and vibrant on the palate with a wonderful depth of citrus & spice and a long, lingering finish. Even at the current price point – approximately $100.00 – given its incredible quality, it is still a bargain. Another marvelous effort from Maison Joseph Drouhin.

*All prices listed are those paid at Pennsylvania State Stores, with the exception of the Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embazées, which was purchased for $94.99 online through Bedford Wine Merchants, Bedford, NY.

Cheers!

TAD

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