Domaine Drouhin Laroze

Douhin-Laroze was founded around 1850 and has always been owned by the family. It was begun by a Laroze, before in 1919 Suzanne Laroze married Alexandre Drouhin (who owned vines in Chambolle-Musigny) and gave the domaine the name it retains to this day.

Philippe Drouhin took over from his father Bernard in 2001 and the quality of the wines has since catapulted the domaine into the top flight. Their 11-hectares includes the grands crus of Bonnes Mares (1.49 hectares), a tiny bit of Musigny, 1.47 hectares of Chambertin Clos de Bèze, a fraction over a hectare of Clos de Vougeot and half a hectare or so each of Latricières-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin. In addition, there are also Gevrey premiers crus in Lavaux St Jacques and Clos Prieur and they also make lovely village Gevrey.

The classic style of vinification is much aided by the domaine's magnificent two-storey cellars which were constructed in 1815 and provide the ideal conditions for the maturation of the wines. After fermentation the wine is run off into barrels in the top cellar, which, being less deep, is subject to useful seasonal temperature variation which is put to use in the maturation of the wine. The cool autumn temperatures in continental Burgundy help naturally to clarify the wine and prevent the start of the malolactic fermentation which Burgundians like to delay. As temperatures rise the following spring the malo begins. The previous year's wine in the bottom cellar is bottled between February and April leaving space for the new wine. After the malo has finished the wines are racked into barrels in the lower cellar whose constant temperature is ideal for a further year's maturation in barrel, after which the wine is bottled.

Phillipe's son Nicolas is gradually taking over from his father now. He began working in the vineyard limiting the vines to eight bunches per plant. He is now influencing the vinification and adjusting the fine tuning. He has changed extraction methods from a dominance of punching down to what he sees as a more gentle action of pumping over to improve the quality of the tannins. The grand cru wines are aged wholly in new oak, while the premier crus are half new and half second use barrels, and the village wines spend time in one-year-old barrels.