If I were to choose one domaine in Burgundy to drink from Chablis through the Côte de Beaune, it would be Joseph Drouhin. The name has become synonymous with value and precision, offering terroir-driven wines founded upon elegance first and foremost. While the relatively large estate purchases grapes from many top growers, they also have their own Domaine holdings where all aspects of viticulture are under their control - fully organic and biodynamic. And, in the case of Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts, proprietor Véronique Drouhin personally owns this secret gem of a Premier Cru herself. As you can imagine, this gets quite the special treatment and is plowed by horse.
Today, I'm happy to offer a collection of my favorite 2016 Drouhin wines, complete with special mixed 3-pack pricing. I cannot think of a more fitting vintage than 2016 to capture the graceful and supremely balanced style Drouhin is so cherished for.
My first experience tasting Burgundy's most adored Premier Cru, Les Amoureuses, was at a small wine shop in Chassagne-Montrachet in 2012. For some reason it's one of the more vivid memories that's stuck with me from a year living in Beaune. A well known Canadian collector who splits his time between the US and Burgundy called me over to taste the highly anticipated release of Drouhin's 2010. I remember his incredibly strict declaration to me as I swirled: You can have all the money in the world to line your cellar with DRC, Leroy, and Rousseau, but if you pass on Drouhin's domaine holdings, you're a fool. Not surprisingly, the wine in the glass was one of the most memorable I had in Burgundy - there's something to be said for the openness and generosity of brand new releases. Pure, unadulterated fruit and maximum impact. The great vintages like 2010 and 2016 do not hold back in making their presence felt.
Drouhin's Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru is labeled as such because it comes from only 1.3 hectares of vines divided through the 1ers: Noirots, Hauts Doix, Borniques, Plantes, and Combottes. The tiny parcels are vinified together. Among secret cuvées in all of France I put this pretty high on my list. It always over-delivers, and late releases from the domaine clearly show its transformative capabilities through decades.
Drouhin's Vosne Romanée 1er Cru is sourced from Malconsorts, Les Petit Monts, and Chaumes (located below La Tâche). This a brand new cuvée and certainly rivals the Chambolle 1er that has been a standard bearer for decades under Drouhin. A trifecta of Vosne 1ers Cru vineyards if there was one!
Drouhin's Beaune 1er Cru Monopole Clos des Mouches Blanc and Rouge are two wines that transcend the reputation of its village more so than any other wines in Burgundy. Located at the southern end of Beaune next to Pommard, Clos des Mouches always surprises with the classic Drouhin elegance that marries with the more powerful style from this village. The track record of aging is unmatched in Beaune. Bottles of both whites and reds from the 80's are regularly standouts at Burgundy dinners filled with Grand Crus.
Véronique Drouhin's Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts is the ultimate insider Burgundy bottle. Sitting above Grand Cru Richebourg and next to fabled 1er Cru Cros Parantoux, this is case in point for illustrating how nothing beats top tier real estate in Vosne Romanée. This cuvée has been heightened in 2016 with the younger vines now going into the Vosne Romanée 1er Cru cuvée for the first time. Bottles of 1988 (available below) are among the freshest and profound red Burgundies I've been fortunate enough to drink.
Robert Drouhin was among the first in Burgundy to adopt "culture raisonnée" in the late 1950's, and today the domaine is fully organic and biodynamic in all owned vineyards. Grapes are de-stemmed and fermented with native yeasts. Gentle punchdowns are applied once per day for the first half of fermentation, with pumpovers utilized afterwards. Each Premier Cru featured today is aged in a modest 20% new French oak.Purchase Here.* Pre Arrival wines not listed on website *12x 2016 Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge (Domaine)
$129 per bottle.
12x 2016 Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc (Domaine)
$174 per bottle.12x 2016 Drouhin Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts (Domaine)
$399 per bottle.Special E-mail Mixed 3-Pack: $651 (Regularly $702)1x Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge1x Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc1x Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts 2016 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru (Domaine)
$119 per bottle. (Pre-Arrival)
2016 Drouhin Vosne Romanée 1er Cru (Domaine)
$134 per bottle. (Pre-Arrival)Also in stock:1x 1988 Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge (Domaine)
$338 per bottle.2x 1988 Drouhin Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts (Domaine)
$699 per bottle.
1x 1993 Drouhin Bonnes Mares (Domaine)
$499 per bottle.1x 1996 Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge (Domaine)
$223 per bottle.1x 1999 Drouhin Grands-Echezeaux (Domaine)
$442 per bottle.1x 1999 Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin (Domaine)
$449 per bottle.1x 2001 Drouhin Grands Echezeaux (Domaine)
$329 per bottle.1x 2002 Drouhin Bonnes Mares (Domaine)
$549 per bottle.1x 2010 Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze
(50% Domaine fruit, complemented with purchased fruit from an adjacent parcel)
$517 per bottle.4x 2010 Drouhin Musigny (Domaine)
$1,248 per bottle.1x 2012 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 1.5L (Domaine)
$227 per bottle.
10x 2015 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru (Domaine)
$113 per bottle.
10x 2015 Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge (Domaine)
$129 per bottle.
6x 2015 Drouhin Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses (Domaine)
$574 per bottle.
It's no secret that over the last decade Jean-Marie Fourrier has catapulted his family's domaine into elite status within Burgundy. Fourrier is the 5th generation to lead this 9-hectare Gevrey Chambertin estate, officially taking over for his father in 1994 after interning with the mythical Henri Jayer.
Today, I'm very happy to offer the 2016 Domaine Fourrier release, just arriving today from importer Neal Rosenthal.
The wines of Fourrier are most associated in my mind for their silken texture with ripe and vivid fruit. They also are lauded for their ability to drink great at all stages of development. But, above all, it's a sense of purity and site reflection that have put them atop the wishlist of every traditional Burgundy collector.
Jean-Marie is most noted for his strict reliance on using only old vines for domaine bottlings - averaging 60 years according to my visit in November 2012. The maximum new oak employed is 20%, and like Jayer grapes here are overwhelmingly de-stemmed.
Much of the magic to the wines' purity has to be tied into Jean-Marie's practice of using very minimal amounts of sulphur, instead relying on dissolved CO2 to remain in the wine protecting against oxidation. Because of this it's recommended that younger bottles are double decanted to help "blow-off" any slight effervescence that might remain.
As noted, 2016 is a thrilling red Burgundy vintage for those who place importance on a sense of clarity and brightness of fruit. For me, this is the greatest red vintage since 2010.
Below is a wide range of Fourrier's 2016's, as well as back-vintage gems through 2005. Jean-Marie has recently started a négociant project, but, with the exception of the Bourgogne Rouge, 100% of the wines offered below are domaine, having been farmed by the Fourrier family for generations.
3x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$999 per bottle.
12x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$699 per bottle.
1x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques 1.5L
$1,579 per bottle.
3x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines
$239 per bottle.
2x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines 1.5L
$539 per bottle.
1x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Vougeots 1er Cru Les Petits. Vougeots 1.5L
$514 per bottle.
6x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux
$239 per bottle.
9x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Goulots
$239 per bottle.
6x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
$239 per bottle.
12x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes
$215 per bottle.
24x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
$105 per bottle.
6x 2016 Domaine Fourrier Morey Saint Denis Clos Solon
$99 per bottle.
34x 2015 Domaine Fourrier Bourgogne Rouge
$55 per bottle.
1x 2013 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines
$225 per bottle.
2x 2013 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$542 per bottle.
2x 2013 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes
$169 per bottle.
2x 2012 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Combe Aux Moines
$231 per bottle.
1x 2012 Domaine Fourrier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
$215 per bottle.
1x 2011 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$769 per bottle.
2x 2010 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$789 per bottle.
2x 2010 Domaine Fourrier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
$299 per bottle.
6x 2008 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes
$159 per bottle.
1x 2007 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin 1.5L
$1,739 per bottle.
1x 2007 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$799 per bottle.
1x 2006 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$419 per bottle.
1x 2006 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux
$229 per bottle.
1x 2005 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin
$1,199 per bottle.
2x 2005 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
$899 per bottle.
The highlight through eight days in Burgundy was undoubtedly visiting with Frédéric Lafarge in Volnay. The village is synonymous with grace and delicacy, but ardent collectors know in the traditional realm they can be among the most long-lived in Burgundy. And, without hesitation, the wines of Domaine Michel Lafarge are the model for this tightrope act of finesse and tension that ultimately leads to slow transformation in bottle.
Today, I'm happy to offer a diverse range stretching from the ultimate insider and best Burgundy buy, the 2015 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge through the 1991 Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées.Domaine Michel Lafarge was founded in the early 1800's, and today is managed by Michel, with his son Frédéric, and granddaughter Clothilde. The trio has seen dramatic trends sweep through Burgundy in their time. During the 1950's, vignerons started incorporating chemicals in the vineyard, but Lafarge never considered it. In the mid to late 80's when the practice of elevated extraction was rampant this domaine continued their own path founded on transparency. And then in 1995, Lafarge was one of the very first to begin biodynamic practices in the vineyard. Tradition can mean so many things in Burgundy, but the use of hand-destemming and reliance on nearly all older barrels for aging places the domaine in a very specific position.It may be unfair to jump in categorizing Volnay as feminine and ethereal, leading one to believe the wines lack the rigid structure required for serious aging. Michel Lafarge touched on this really eloquently in his terrific interview with Levi Dalton on I'll Drink to That! Wine Podcast:"It's difficult to achieve the silkiness in tannins, but in Volnay it's unacceptable to have hardness. It's the silkiness of the tannins that define the overriding definition of Volnay."Domaine Lafarge holds vineyards primarily in Volnay, with plots in Pommard, Beaune, and Meursault. All wines have a regal frame met with the translucent qualities that put terroir firmly in the crosshairs. Volnay may not have Grand Cru vineyards, but if given the opportunity to drink any Côte de Beaune reds, my first choice is always Volnay.A few bottles opened over the last year have amped up my love affair with this domaine: At La Paulée, the 2000 Clos du Château des Ducs was a great reminder that when Lafarge hits that perfect window it's simply breathtaking. A 1993 Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées proved that aging the more humble designations is the wisest thing one can do. And at this summer's wedding of a dear friend, a magnum of 2006 Clos des Chênes was far more generous and approachable than anyone would have guessed, a beautifully pristine example of Pinot Noir from one of the best slices of limestone in all of Burgundy!Of course the array of Premier Crus from Lafarge are the most profound, but I cannot stress enough how much enjoyment there is to be had from the Bourgogne Rouge - from one hectare of 41-52 yr-old vines in the lieu dit, Petit Pré.36x 2014 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
$44 per bottle.
37x 2015 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
$49 per bottle. (Fall arrival)3x 2015 Lafarge Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Aigrots
$128 per bottle.
1x 2015 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$299 per bottle.
1x 2014 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées
$89 per bottle.
3x 2012 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$246 per bottle.
10x 2010 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$273 per bottle.1x 2009 Lafarge Beaune 1er Cru Grèves
$129 per bottle.
3x 2008 Lafarge Pommard 1er Cru Pézerolles
$139 per bottle.2x 2008 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$199 per bottle.2x 2008 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$219 per bottle.3x 2006 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$209 per bottle.1x 2005 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$284 per bottle.
1x 2005 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$299 per bottle.
1x 2002 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes 1.5L
$899 per bottle.
1x 2001 Lafarge Pommard 1er Cru Les Pézerolles
$269 per bottle.2x 2000 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$209 per bottle.
3x 1999 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$389 per bottle.
5x 1996 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
$344 per bottle.
4x 1996 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$399 per bottle.
1x 1995 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
$359 per bottle.
1x 1991 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées
$299 per bottle.
Before we get to our visit with Vosne Romanée's Domaine Yves Bizot, today I thought we'd turn to a former protégé, Marc Soyard and Domaine de la Cras. While its great inception story is a fresh departure from the norm in Burgundy, the wines in bottle are the most thrilling element from Soyard's domaine. In only three vintages the wines have gone from obscure to seeing a cult following.
Today, I'm happy to offer the 2016 release from Domaine de la Cras. Quantities are incredibly limited, with only 6 bottles available of Soyard's top wine. Today's offering is not listed our website. To order, please reply directly to this email. Domaine de la Cras goes against the grain of what Burgundian law has dictated for centuries. Five years ago the city of Dijon purchased a vineyard just outside their limits. The city essentially held a casting call to find a winemaker for the property. The criteria was that they must be young, have no family vineyard holdings, be prepared for organic farming, and open the domaine for educational tours. The rent for the land would be paid each year to the city in bottles, 2,000 exactly.
Marc Soyard, originally from the nearby Jura, was chosen. Soyard does not come from a family of vignerons, but he had worked previously for the esteemed and tiny Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanée. Bizot is known for their rigorous vineyard work, minuscule sulphur regimen, and their use of whole grape clusters for fermentation.Soyard works a slope, En Bessy, just outside Dijon. His Pinot Noir pulled me in immediately for its super crunchy and unadulterated bright red berry fruit. 100% whole cluster ferment gives a lifted and spicy, floral character that just floored me. Even before tasting, those aromas are so intoxicating they grab ahold of you straightaway.
The two Chardonnay's supple mouthfeel melds with an exotic stone fruit profile and is backed up by a crazy, zippy mineral drive. In short, these wines are unlike anything produced in the region today. and speak to this unique slice of Dijon.The "Cras" bottlings are the domaine's top wines and come from the oldest vines on the steepest portion of En Bessy. Biodynamic and organic approach to all viticulture here, with only small amounts of sulphur additions, primarily at bottling. Older barrel elévage for the two Coteaux de Dijon wines, and 50% new wood for the two "Cras" cuvées.24x 2016 Domaine de la Cras Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Blanc$35 per bottle.12x 2016 Domaine de la Cras Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$35 per bottle.6x 2016 Domaine de la Cras "Cras" Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$67 per bottle.6x 2016 Domaine de la Cras "Cras" Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$67 per bottle.
"While it's not unusual for Bizot to surpass the general quality of any given vintage, he did sensationally well in 2015 and these are wines to look for and particularly so if you prefer to age your burgs."
Few Burgundy addresses find equal amounts of mystery and cult-like attention surrounding them like those of Domaine Bizot. Of all the barrel tastings over this summer's trip (and my life) none have shown a purity of fruit surpassing those I found at Bizot. At only 900 cases produced annually, this is one of Burgundy's smallest and most highly coveted domaines.
Today, I'm happy to offer a range of reds from Bizot's 2015 vintage, as well 2002 and 1996.Yves Bizot is a geologist and professor of viticulture and oenology in Beaune, but it's in Vosne Romanée where he resides and tends to his 3.54 hectares of vines. On one hand, Bizot's wines carry a superior and pristine quality of fruit that call to mind his former neighbor and friend, Henri Jayer. But, protocol in the vineyard and the cellar diverge drastically from Vosne's iconic, historical figure.Discussing the style of Bizot always presents a challenge, as there's been much conflicting information circulated. But, after touring the vines, the cellar, and the cuverie (no pictures allowed) I walked away with a better grasp on simply just how these wines do what they do. In color they are transparent and a brilliant ruby red. So brilliant that I was honestly mesmerized for several minutes before I remembered it was time to swirl and sniff. In texture they are as silky as you will find in the region, and the glossy imprint of high-definition fruit on the palate is the stuff you never want to forget.Fermentation: all Pinot Noir here is 100% whole cluster fermented. This gives a great, savory brown spice, and although technically stems will reduce acidity in wines through dropping out potassium, the lifted and crunchy traits give a sensation of freshness. Clusters see 5-6 days in open-top wood fermenters with small additions of C02 where semi-carbonic fermentation begins. After this phase, 1/4 of the cap is gently trodden by foot. The next day, another 1/4 portion of the cap follows the same protocol, and so on. This gently extracts color and tannin, and allow for a carbonic influence which gives some of the more fruity and bouncy characteristics. Tannins remain soft but provide structure, and as compared to most red Burgundies these have an approachability and forward fruit component I love.
Aging takes place in 100% new French wood. Minimal sulphur is only added at bottling, and this has placed the Bizot wines into a "natural" category by many. The combo of whole cluster, new wood, and minimal sulphur is a fascinating one. It's an approach that has to be carried out with great precision for the wines to show their best. And these, particularly the brilliant 2015's, are just that, brilliantly pure expressions of Vosne's terroir and ultimately, delicious.
Bottling is 100% by hand directly from each barrel into bottle. The small cellar takes up to 9 days to bottle in most vintages, with a team of two working together from slowly from barrel to barrel. Bizot believes the less a wine is moved the greater he finds the expression of fruit.
Viticulture is a large reason why pricing here is what it is. Yields are kept to 5 clusters per vine, about half of what you can find from the other great domaines of Burgundy. Domaine Leroy is the only other name I'm familiar with who keeps yields this low. As you can imagine, concentration of fruit here is incredibly high.
Bizot shares another philosophy with Leroy, as he chooses not to hedge his shoots. Believing the cutting is harmful to the vine and that the extra vertical growth gives way to greater photosynthesis, he lets these grow long and will tie or curl them around as summer's growth continues.
*Bizot is also experimenting with échalas vine training (pictured below), as is the custom in the Northern Rhone Valley with Syrah. This is rarely seen in Burgundy, where nearly all vines are trained into vertical shoot positions spread out on a wired trellis system.
Sites: All of Bizot's parcels are under one hectare in size. Two of the more interesting wines are the Bourgogne Chapitre and the Vosne Romanée 1er Cru.
Chapitre is one of only a select number of Bourgogne single vineyards that can legally be named on labels. Prior to the 1600's this vineyard produced the most expensive wines in all of Burgundy, second only to Grand Cru Clos de Beze. This was confirmed when we visited Sylvain Pataille, who also produces this site.The "Vosne Romanée 1er Cru" is 100% comprised of Grand Cru Echezeaux from the parcel Les Treux. When small yields do not allow for this parcel to be bottled on its own it's blended with his other Echezeaux parcel, Orveaux, which sits above the Chateau du Clos Vougeot.1x 2015 Bizot Marsannay Clos du Roy
$184 per bottle.
2x 2015 Bizot Bourgogne Rouge Le Chapitre
$299 per bottle.
4x 2015 Bizot Vosne Romanée
$324 per bottle.
4x 2015 Bizot Vosne Romanée Les Jachées
$499 per bottle.
3x 2015 Bizot Vosne Romanée Les Réas
$579 per bottle.
1x 2015 Bizot Vosne Romanée 1er Cru
$584 per bottle.
3x 2002 Bizot Vosne Romanée Les Jachées
$388 per bottle.
1x 1996 Bizot Echezeaux
$779 per bottle.