Founded in 1880 by the then 22-year-old Joseph Drouhin, this famous Burgundy Negociant is still family owned. Of the current, fourth generation, Veronique Drouhin is the wine-maker, Laurent is the brand ambassador in the USA, Philippe is in charge of the vineyards, whilst Frederic "conducts the orchestra".
Maison Joseph Drouhin owns extensive parcels throughout the region and in Chablis extending to 73 hectares, including the world-renowned Clos des Mouches, one of the earliest purchases made by joseph. From Montrachet Marquis de laguiche through Meursault to Corton Charlemagne in the Cote de Beaune, Echezaux to Clos de Vougeot in the Cote de Nuits, the domains produce a wide spectrum from Laforat Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge to grands Crus in Musigny and Chambertin. Drouhin's foremost concern is to express the exact character of each terroir.
Since 1993 they have worked their vineyards to organic and bio-dynamic principles, "bringing natural answers to natural problems". Vine stocks are grown in their own nursery to preserve their genetic heritage and control quality, and vineyards are ploughed by horse with treatments based on herb infusions and the use of natural predators instead of synthetic products. Planting is dense and yields deliberately kept low. Vinification is traditional using indigenous yeasts and as little technical interference as possible, varied according to the needs of each terroir. Ageing takes account of the origin of each wine: stainless steel vats to enhance fruit and freshness in Chablis and Maconnais, oak barrels to develop complexity and finesse in Cote D'Or. New oak barrels are made from oak trees individually selected by Drouhin which are then weathered for three years so that all coarse tannins can be eliminated. Their use and the time the wine spends in them are determined by the appellation and the vintage.
The progress of every wine is meticulously monitored and recorded at every stage: Drouhin were one of the first houses in Burgundy to apply bar codes on the barrels to ensure total traceability and every cork is stamped Joseph Drouhin, the appellation and the vintage, in order to guarantee the authenticity of the wine.
At the heart of the famous Chambolle-Musigny vineyard, with a nice East exposure, the name of the village Chambolle is probably derived from the Celtic "cambola", already reputed for its vineyards in Gallo-Roman times and cultivated by the monks in the Middle Joseph Drouhin owns several Premier Cru parcels. Since they are too small, these Premier Cru vineyards (Noirots, Hauts Doix, Borniques, Plantes, Combottes) are harvested and vinified together. The name given to this wine is therefore Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru (since the components of this "cuvee" are all Premier Crus). The limestone of the subsoil is of Jurassic age origin, ideally suited for Pinot Noir. Average age of the vines: 32 years.
Harvesting is done by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit. Sorting of the grapes is done in the vineyard and at the "cuverie" (winery) if necessary.Maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks' with indigenous yeasts. Maceration and fermentation temperatures under total control. Joseph Drouhin seeks total control of the process of extraction; extraction gives colour and substance to a wine but should never be detrimental to its finesse and typical character. "Pigeage" (punching down of the cap during fermentation) takes place once a day until half of fermentation is done; one pumping over (remontage) happens every day till the end of the fermentation. Pressing: separation of free run juice from pressed juice.
Fine lace and silk are the words most often associated with this wine. Bright, intense colour and complex aromas evoking violet, black cherry and damp earth. According to the vintages, there are also notes of truffle and game. Refined tannins coat the palate. Good balance between texture and acidity. Long aftertaste, with notes of cherry and candied fruit.