Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Drouhin Delicacy

I was brought up to appreciate burgundy wine based on the fine expressions of Joseph Drouhin since the 1970s.  The company has only been focussed on the wines of Burgundy and haven’t dabbled in other regions.  I’d call Beaujolais part of Burgundy, and their venture in Oregon is based on Pinot Noir, so you could extend their reach to include these quite comfortably.  They’ve stood the test of time and challengers who have made bigger, stronger, oakier wines that make more of a statement, but the beauty and the delicacy of the Drouhin wines – both red and white has remained true.  They always express the appellation and terroir of site.  And I love them for their stylishness.

The 2012 whites from Burgundy will be rare and should be of very high quality.  An extreme growing season meant low yields and concentration.  The Drouhin wines have this concentration, but keep their elegance and finesse.  The 2012 Joseph Drouhin Meursault has a sweetness, roundness and creaminess, with ripe citrus fruits, butter, toast and a hint of flint.  The 2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet has intensity, white florals and stonefruits, a noticeable struck-match complexity and linearity.  Both have a touch of malo, in the former adding richness, in the ltter adding flavour nuance.  It’s most likely the winemaking was identical, so what you see is indeed terroir, and the classical expression of appellation character.  And they sit above their station as village or commune wines.  These were treats and bargains. 

Monday, February 23, 2015


Claret was once clairette.  Well, at least we were told so.  That’s how the Bordeaux red wine drinkers enjoyed it.  Nowadays, Bordeaux wines are far more substantial than those of Burgundy.  They are masculine and Burgundy is feminine.  Maybe there will be a return to greater elegance and lighter wines in the future
The 2010 Ch. de Pez St Estephe comes from a more challenging year.  Cool, late and where the Cabernet Sauvignon was much compromised.  Merlot fared better.  The commune of St Estephe seems to turn out fulsome, robust, solid and grunty wines.  This wine is absolutely typical.  It’s solid and isn’t a wine of finesse.  Bold dark plum flavours, Merlot for sure, with tannins that take over.  If you like size without much elegance, this is the one for you.  With this structure, I prefer more sweetness and finer grained extraction.  I often look forward to a return to clairette.  But solid size wins out now.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


We have a love of the wines from the Mosel.  There’s the traditional style for us, which for those growing up after WW2 means low alcohol with high sugar and acidity.  Yet we’ve learnt that this is the new traditional style, the wines of older times being distinctly light-bodied and austere.  The advent of better ripeness and chaptalisation making them sweeter in our time.  Of course the new wave wines are trending drier, or remaining sweet with much greater finesse.  These are now what’s traditional – the new traditional? 
Weingut Kerpen is definitely traditional as we know it.  A rich, sweeter style with the slight rusticity that the ultra modern wines have done away with.  And with the ‘rougher’ nature comes more character.  This 2010 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenur Riesling Auslese * very sweet and fulsome as the house style dictates.  There’s the site terroir with the razor-sharp acidity and minerals, but here, a healthy dose of botrytis and savoury complexity takes it away from pure and pristine.  Magic to the middle traditional lovers.