2015 Drouhin Puligny Montrachet
Joseph Drouhin was a daring and enterprising young man who, over 130 years ago, picked up stakes in Chablis, leaving his family home, in order to make wine in the great capitol of Burgundy – Beaune. At the tender age of 22, he founded a négociant business – one dedicated to the negociating, purchasing, and selling of fine Burgundy.
Now in its fourth generation, Joseph Drouhin’s decendants – all of whom are directly active in running the winery – can make a strong claim to be one of Burgundy’s most historic, if not also one of the most important, domaines. What started as a humble shop has grown to encompass a domaine and maison business across all of Burgundy, including the historical cellars of the Dukes of Burgundy and the generations-old family estate of Moulin de Vaudon in Chablis.
Therefore, this family is perfectly positioned to take us on a tour of White Burgundy with the 2015 vintage, one of the “best vintages since 1999” says Allen Meadows, and “one of the top vintages of Burgundy of the past generation” to quote Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.
We’ve got this historical producer, from a great vintage, at outstanding values. But as always with Burgundy, we didn’t get much. Snap them up as soon as you can.
We begin in Chablis, perfect place to start out explorations with the Drouhin family because the Moulin de Vaudon – a simply farmhouse with a waterwheel (vaudon) is where Joseph Drouhin grew up as a boy, leaving to found Domaine Drouhin so many years ago. Robert Drouhin, Joseph’s grandson, would begin the process of aquiring these lands back in 1957. Steeped in tradition, this is one salient and sensational Chablis:
The nose is very fresh with lively mineral, green apple, lemon, flint and a dash of green underbrush. On the palate notes of lime-flower, mint, and a touch of anise. The aromas and the palate are fresh, perky, and very lively, leading to a smooth and serene finish. Chablis’ personality is always recognizable in this outstanding example.
We next move to Chassagne Montrachet, a wine that takes us to the historical heart of the greatest white wine terroirs in the Cote d’Or. Here the Drouhins produce a wine with profound notes of honeysuckle, verbena, hazelnut, and ripe pear. There is much complexity here, and as the bottle opens up further, flavors of acacia, flint, and yellow apple develop. Here the wine is very fresh, but with a broader mid-palate fruit weight, finishing with a long, mellow richness of outstanding persistence.
Wine Master Tim Atkin notes: “93 points. On the nose, there are often delicate nuances of pear, vanilla and almond flavors. Round and ample on the palate, the wine has length and complexity.”
And finally, to Puligny Montrachet, Chassagne’s northern neighbor and another of the Cote d’Or’s great white wine terroirs. In 2015 the Drouhins have produced an amazing example: Here the bouquet opens with the expression of ripe grapes – and yellow fruits mesh perfectly with notes of marzipan, hazelnut, lemon grass and green apple. A note of freshly torn hot croissant intermingles with honey and hawthorn. There is remarkable concentration here, equally matched to the wine’s sublime resonance.
James Suckling notes, “93 points. Just like crunching on fresh grapes with lemon undertones. Medium to full bodied and lovely acidity and fruit. Drink now.”
And of course, I would be remiss to not at least present one red wine. Here is the lovely Cote de Beaune-Villages, a wine of supple and bewitching red cherry and strawberry fruit character, with silky-smooth tannins made equally at home with a simple fall stew or a sophisticated family luncheon. Again, 2015 was a splendid year, and this wine brings home a powerful yet restrained rendition of this easy drinker.