Maison Joseph Drouhin - Burgundy
Wine & Spirits Magazine Honors Maison Joseph Drouhin
by naming them to their Top 100 Wineries of 2016!
Joseph Drouhin always had a passion for wine, and in 1880 in Burgundy, he founded the independent company that still bears his name. Today, his great grandchildren, Philippe, Véronique, Laurent and Frédéric, run the family-owned company from their ancestors house. Each has their own personality, but together, they share a common passion for the vine and the wine. Day after day, they strive for harmony, the hallmark of Joseph Drouhin wines.
Philippe Drouhin - Maison Joseph Drouhin
from Organic to Biodynamic Burgundy
Founded in Beaune in 1880, Maison Joseph Drouhin’s cellars have spread from the historical Cellars of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France in Beaune (12th-18th centuries) to the Moulin de Vaudon, an 18th Century watermill in Chablis.
A rigorous attention to detail, self-imposed discipline, a desire to learn, a rigorous sense of values, passion and daring, are the qualities that have been handed down through the generations, together with the art of winemaking and a never ending search for quality.
The Joseph Drouhin Domaine was assembled parcel by parcel over the years and today comprises 73 hectares (182.5 acres) of vineyards in Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Chablis. It is one of the most important domains in Burgundy, with more than two thirds of the vineyards classified as Premier and Grand Crus.
Today, the fourth generation is at the helm. Each has his role to play in imposing the Family “ Charter of Excellence”.
From vine to glass: a succession of rigorous decisions at every step. Four Drouhin generations have learned how to carefully observe the land, the vine, the grape, humbly drawing lessons from every detail. The methods used bring together experience and innovation.
“The Burgundian terroir expresses itself through the vine: our role is to translate and reveal its most subtle messages”. Every effort is made to respect this terroir in all its diversity.
Being able to express the exact character of each terroir is our foremost
concern; therefore we have chosen the organic and biodynamic approach.
Our credo is “to bring natural answers to natural problems”.
The vinification is traditional with as little interference as possible.
Technical know-how is always at the service of authenticity.
“Our care takes into account the origin of each wine: stainless steel vats to
enhance fruit and freshness in Chablis and Mâconnais, oak barrels to develop complexity and finesse in Côte d’Or”.
The Fine Detail:
At each step in the elaboration of a wine, a strict technical control
gives the finishing touch to the actual tasting. Every single detail is important.
Drouhin Vaudon - Chablis
The Moulin de Vaudon, the property of Joseph Drouhin, is an 18th Century watermill straddling the Serein River, close to the Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis. Flowing gently past hillsides covered with vineyards, the river has always been closely identified with Chablis and its region. Because of its unique location at the heart of their 38 hectare vineyard estate (95 acres), this historical mill is the headquarters of the Drouhin Domaine in Chablis.
Joseph Drouhin, a precursor and pioneer in this great wine region for 45 years, will strengthen the identity of their prestigious Chablis Domaine. With this in mind, and starting with the vintage 2008, the name "Vaudon" will be associated with Joseph Drouhin for all its Chablis wines as a sign of the firm's allegiance to this historical terroir.
In the last 40 years, the Drouhin family has acquired and planted excellent parcels of land. The wines produced from the "Propriétés de la Famille Drouhin" come from the following vineyards:
CHABLIS GRAND CRU
(3.7 ha - 9.25 acres):
Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir
(1.5 ha - 3.75 acres)
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
(1.3 ha - 3.25 acres)
Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
(0.5 ha - 1.25 acre)
Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
(0.4 ha - 1 acre)
CHABLIS PREMIER CRU
(7.2 ha - 18 acres):
Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons
(2.1 ha - 5.25 acres)
Chablis Premier Cru Montmains
(1.8 ha - 4.5 acres)
Chablis Premier Cru Sécher
(1.5 ha - 3.75 acres)
Chablis Premier Cru
(1.8 ha - 4.5 acres) :
Mont de Milieu
Montée de Tonnerre
(27.3 ha - 68.25 acres)
Eight parcels of land spread on both sides of the Serein river.
Joseph Drouhin - Hospices De Belleville
A PARTNERSHIP WHICH FOLLOWS THE TRACE OF DESTINY!
As a member of the French resistance during the war, Maurice Drouhin owed his life to the brave actions of the nuns of the Hospices de Beaune who harboured him for 6 months. To show his gratitude, he involved himself in the management of the Hospices de Beaune, then with the Hospices civiles of the East of France, including the Hospices de Belleville, and this without salary. The opportunity then, 50 years later, for his grandchildren to invest in the Hospices de Belleville is all the more fitting. It is a way for them to retrace their Grandfather’s footsteps, and in their turn, assure the longevity of this charitable institution.
The wheel has come full circle!
a natural son, by hybridization of the pinot noir; born in Burgundy, it is, above all, a child of Beaujolais!
productive, it requires low pruning, a high density of plantation, poor soils, (the granitic arenas are ideal). From a cross-bred variety, it then becomes a very “thirsty” grape, revealer of the terroir.
fruity and easy-drinking in the case of simple Beaujolais, but they reveal their complexity and subtlety in the crus of Beaujolais.
Its ageing potential:
issuing from the best terroirs and with careful vinification, they present a real capacity for ageing which is being rediscovered by wine professionals.
A simple Beaujolais may be a wine of the gamay, but a cru Beaujolais is definitely a wine of the terroir!
FROM VITICULTURE TO AGEING: THE TERROIR IS PUT TO THE FORE
Using our Burgundy ‘savoir-faire’ whilst respecting the specificity of Beaujolais, many improvements have been put in place by Maison Joseph Drouhin. From cultivation to ageing, at every step, no detail is overlooked to better enhance the identity of each cru. It’s the "hand-made" style of our House.
One of our first actions was an audit of the vines in order to identify and better understand each plot.
The results were extremely satisfying, this allows the elaboration of a blueprint to privilege plot by plot cultivation, with the aim of being close to the plant, and in the respect of the terroir. This guides the year’s work for the team in place with the support of the head of cultivation of the House alongside the vineyard team of the Hospices de Belleville.
The date of the harvest - always manual, is chosen in function of the perfect ripeness of the grapes.
The transport of the harvest has been rethought to best respect the grapes. The Vat house has been equipped with a sorting table, where the grapes are sorted upon arrival. The process of de-stemming, common in Burgundy, carried out, depending on the different plots, and the state of the grapes. The fermentation combines the 'Beaujolais" way and the "Burgundy" way.
The first is done with whole clusters under carbonic maceration in order to preserve the fruit and the freshness.
The second requires de-stemmed grapes with punch-downs and pump overs in view of obtaining more structure and aromatic complexity.
In both cases, the fermentations are slow with controlled temperatures (between 10 to 15 days).
Each tank is tasted morning and evening, to follow the evolution to give the best interpretation of each nuance of the terroir.
The ageing is adapted to the nature of each wine, with the sole aim of revealing all its subtleties like an amplifier of the terroir.
The wines issuing from carbonic fermentation are aged in stainless steel tanks in order to preserve the freshness and the fruit.
However, oak is appropriate for those vinified in Burgundy style in 500 liter barrels. Thanks to micro-oxygenation, they gain in aromatic complexity and suavity with softly caressing tannins.
After 5 to 6 months ageing, the wines are assembled for bottling.
3 CRUS SIGNED of JOSEPH DROUHIN
Situated in the south of Burgundy, in the prolongation of the Mâconnais, the crus of Beaujolais offer a unique vineyard formation with its hills, or teats, which punctuate the bell towers of the villages gripping the flanks of its slopes. This countryside is vaunted by many as being one of the most beautiful viticultural landscapes of France!
A total of ten, the crus are all to be found in the north of this wine area. This geographical area, paired with a geological reality, with soils of volcanic origin; thin, shallow, and comprised for the most part of coarse sand, or granitic arenas, fully justify this classification.
Each cru has its own identity and individual character due to its topography, its climate, and the complex nature of its soil and sub-soil. As in the whole of the Beaujolais, a single red grape variety, the gamay noir with white juice, reigns as master.
Above the 2,174 acres of the cru, surveys ‘La Madone’, a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary dating from the end of the XIXth century. The vineyard situated in the heart of the cru, grips the flanks of the hillside of these steep slopes.
The soils here are fairly homogenous with granitic sand of large rose colored crystals, also called gore, thin and poor, which act as a perfect filter. To the east, on the border of the cru of Moulin à Vent, are to be found veins of manganese and the presence of clay, bringing a supplement of structure to the wines.
The wines bear well the name of the appellation by demonstrating much finesse and suavity with an aromatic profile which is very floral combining rose, iris, violets and peonies with notes of small red fruits and vine peaches. Spicy notes become apparent with age.
With 3,212 acres spread over 6 communes, Brouilly is the largest and the Southernmost of the crus.
It owes its name to Mont Brouilly, a cone of volcanic origin culminating at 484 m. On its summit is found the famous Chapel dedicated to Notre Dame du Raisin (of the grape) edified in 1854.
Its silhouette can be seen from afar, and gives the type of countryside typical of the Beaujolais. The vineyard in the shape of a U spreads out below the mountain.
The soils present noticeable differences from one village to the other, allaying pink granitic arenas which are fairly acidic and dry, to darker soils, due to the presence of diorite which is less acidic, and some limestone pebbles which are slightly less propitious to quality. The wines from Brouilly have the reputation of having body, with aromas of red and black fruits and plums, with spicy notes, and pepper and even of moka. They perfectly express the fruity bouquet of gamay.
The neighbor of Fleurie, in the heart of the crus, situated on the eastern facing slope of the Monts de Beaujolais, Morgon comprises 2718 acres. It is the 2nd largest of the crus after Brouilly in surface.
The appellation takes its name from a small place called Morgon attaching it to the village of Villié-Morgon.
Its rose-colored soil, predominantly alkaline, is characterized by the presence of icaceous schists originating from detrital rocks or "morgons" and by the presence of iron oxide and manganese.
These geological specifications give Morgon a strong character and a surprising ageing potential which gives rise to a local expression for an older wine saying that it “morgons". In its youth, it offers notes of stone fruits (plum, cherry) which evolve towards typical notes of Kirsch, spices, ginger and nutmeg. Its body has strength, richness and a good structure.
LES HOSPICES DE BELLEVILLE
Created in 1733, the Hôtel-Dieu de Belleville had the function of welcoming and healing the sick from among the poorest members of society. Right from its construction, this charitable institution benefited from the generosity of benefactors.
Amongst the donations, vineyards have always been well placed on the list of assets belonging to the Hospices de Belleville, which has since become a public institution. Today this heritage comprises 14 hectares in the 3 most renowned crus of Beaujolais: Fleurie, Brouilly and Morgon.
A museum; the memory of medicine at the service of the poor in former times.
Today, since becoming a museum thanks to the Association ‘Albarelle’, it allows the visitor to be transported back into the lives of the sick in former times. The buildings date from XVIIIth century, with 3 rooms and 2 chapels which are classified as historical monuments. They contain period furniture, and have been entirely reconstructed as they would have been in the past. Models representing the nuns of Saint Martha remind us of the important role of this order in the care of the sick, and the daily functioning of the hospices. The council room and the apothecary are magnificent with their wood paneling and the collection of unguent vases, the famous ambarellos, decorated with blue, which have become the emblem of Hospices de Belleville, and which was the inspiration for the wine labels.
The operating theater, dating from 1879 completes the visit in a most instructive way.
Georges Comte de Vogue - Burgundy
Many domaines in Burgundy can trace their roots back over 100 years, but only a handful can claim more than 200 years of history. Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé can trace a line back over 550 years, to 1450 and the Chambolle vines of one Jean Moisson. Highly regarded as the greatest estate in Chambolle Musigny, today the domaine is headed by its 20th generation – Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette, the granddaughters of the late Comte Georges de Vogüé.
THE DOMAINE OF COMTE DE VOGUE
The Domaine currently owns 12.43 ha of vines, all of it in Chambolle-Musigny.
- 7.2ha are in Musigny,
- 2.7ha in Bonnes-Mares,
- 0.56ha in Chambolle Amoureuses,
- 0.27ha in other Chambolle premiers crus, and 1.8ha in Chambolle Village
Eric Bourgogne practices ‘lutte raisonnée’ (reasoned battle) which is effectively intervention only as required rather than treatment as prevention. In common with most domaines in Chambolle he also practices ‘confusion sexuelle’ – he puts small brown tags of insect pheromones on the end of the rows of vines. Eric Bourgogne believes that a balance of insects is best, as treatments against one insect type will often have negative consequences for beneficial predators. Across the domaine he uses three types of pruning; Guyot, Cordon Royat and for the young vines a formation pruning.
Within Musigny, he allows the weeds and grass to grow between the rows throughout the autumn and winter, ploughing by horse from spring onwards, using no weed killer. Eric Bourgogne believes that these choices result in less-compacted soil and significantly less erosion than the domaine used to experience. The Domaine puts its own compost on the vineyards at a rate of 2 hectares per year; this translates to an addition of compost every six years.
A STUDY OF LE MUSIGNY VINEYARD
Musigny, sometimes referred to as Le Musigny, is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Grand Cru vineyard for red and white wine in Côte de Nuits of Burgundy. It is located within the commune of Chambolle-Musigny, to the south of the village itself. It borders on the Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot in the southeast, to Échezeaux in the south, and to the Premier Cru Les Amoureuses in the northeast. The name is derived from a family de Musigny, which is now extinct, but which held offices in the court of the Dukes of Burgundy from the 14th century. The AOC was created in 1936, but the borders of Musigny were previously set down legally in 1929.
Musigny is the only Grand Cru vineyard in Côte de Nuits for white wine as well as red, although the production of red wine dominates by over 90%. All the other Burgundy Grand Crus for white wine are located in Côte de Beaune.
Even though the vineyard of Musigny has been famous for centuries, its history of ownership is not well understood. The earliest record of the village of Chambolle is traced back to 1110 and by 1140, the Cistercians owned the vineyard of Musigny; or at least it is believed they did. The confusion rests because up until the French Revolution there was also a subclimat within the Clos de Vougeot called Les Petits Musigny. Mysteries of the dark ages aside, what is certain is that in 1882, the village of Chambolle appended Musigny to its name.
In 1855 there were two parcels of Musigny, which together comprised 10.05 ha: Les Musigny and Les Petits-Musigny. Most people believe that these are only two subclimates of Musigny, but this is not so. In 1929, suit was brought before the courts to extend the right to the name Musigny to a 0.61 ha parcel of the adjoining premier cru La Combe d’Orveau. Ultimately, this request was granted and in 1936, all three climats were combined to create a single A.O.C. under the name Musigny.
Then, in 1989, the right to the name Musigny was extended yet again to a few rows of vines, which increased the surface area to the present size of 10.70 ha.
The entirety of 4.2 ha of Les Petits Musigny is a monopole of the Domaine Comte de Vogue and Domaine Jacques Prieur owns the entire La Combe d’Orveau subclimat (0.61 ha). Ownership of Musigny is quite concentrated with a mere four domaines owning fully 90% of it, and with the lion’s share of that owned by de Vogue. The total number of domaines with ownership is only ten.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is by far the largest owner of Grand Cru Musigny, i.e. 66,5 % of the entire vineyard, with a total of 7.12 ha, including all of Les Petits Musigny (4,2 ha - a monopole) and 2,92 ha of Le Musigny.
The vineyard lies on several north-south faults which separate different geologies: Oolite limestone at the top and Comblanchien limestone further down.
To ensure the best possible quality and emphasize its non compromise policy, the Domaine commercializes the Musigny solely under the label “Vieilles Vignes”, i.e. from selected vines exclusively between 25 years of age and approximately 60 years of age.
Musigny Blanc vineyard
Slightly more than half a hectare (0.65 ha) is planted to Chardonnay to produce the rare Musigny Blanc, the only Grand Cru white of the Côte de Nuits. The last vintage for Musigny Blanc was 1993. The vines were torn out and replanted in 1986, 1987, 1991 and more recently in 1997. There are two plots of Chardonnay, right at the top of the Musigny vineyard, one (0, 44 ha big) located in the northwest part of Les Petits Musigny, and one (0, 22 ha big) in the southwest part of Le Musigny. Since then, the domaine declassifies the production to Bourgogne and will continue to do so “until the resulting wine once again merits its grand cru status”, in the very few years to come. Comte George de Vogue Musigny Blanc is declassified to Bourgogne Blanc and not to Premier Cru or villages level because in the AOC laws governing the production and consequently the commercialization of wines from Chambolle, neither a Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru, nor villages in white are permitted.
Chambolle Musigny Premier Cru vineyard
In order to maintain the highest level of quality to the Grand Cru Musigny produced from vines above 25 years of age and commercialized under the label “Musigny Vieilles Vignes”, the Domaine decided to declassify the young vines– above 10 years and below 25 years of age – of the Grand Cru Musigny and launch the wine as “Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru”. The first vintage was 1995 and has been nicknamed by consumers “The Musigny in short trousers”.
Despite owning portions of Les Baudes and Les Fuées in addition to their holding in Amoureuses, there is actually no premier cru wine in these bottles, only the declassified juice from the young Musigny.
Chambolle Musigny LES Amoureuses vineyard
Complementing this holding is 0, 56 ha of the 1er Les Amoureuses, the Domaine’s smallest production, just below the Le Musigny vineyard.
The parcel is located in the most southern part of the “climat”, on top of a bedrock of compact Comblanchien limestone with pebbles at all soil levels and some oolite below. It has a terraced configuration (like a balcony) 45 feet overlooking some vineyard of Vougeot called “les Petits Vougeot”. With regard to the geology, the activbe limestone and the entroques limestone bring a lot of minerality, purity, finesse and silk to this wine.
Bonnes Mares vineyard
The domaine owns 2, 67 ha of Grand Cru Bonnes Mares accounting for 18% of the appellation, thus making the Domaine the largest owner of this vineyard. The vines are located entirely in the Chambolle portion of the vineyard that is closest to the village itself; this provides for slightly more elegant Bonnes-Mares. It is situated in southeastern corner and lower part of the vineyard, which means that all of it is on terres rouges rather than the upper slope terres blanches.