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Domaine Drouhin-Laroze, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2019

Red Wine from France - Burgundy
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Big, powerful yet balanced Bonnes Mares. This is from that part of the vineyard with red clay which gives quite a structured wine in cooler years; but in a warm one, the tannins achieve anunusual ripeness which transforms its normally chunky character to a rounder, richer style in apositive way.
Price: £175.00 Bottle
Price: £525.00 Case of 3
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Code: BU76641

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Pinot Noir
  • 75cl
  • 2030 to 2042
  • 14% Alcohol
  • oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Cork, natural

Côte de Nuits

Taking its name from the town at its heart, Nuits-St-Georges, the Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d’Or, the escarpment upon which lie the greatest of Burgundy’s vineyards. Though there are a number of very fine white wines made it is the reds for which the Côte de Nuits is truly famous. Compared with the red wines of the Côte de Beaune the reds from Nuits have more sophisticated tannins, extra body and a more sumptuous texture than their southern counterparts.

The soils of the area are predominantly limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The finest have a happy conjunction of silt and scree over marl with protected and sunny aspects in some of the side-valleys that cut into the escarpment from west to east. These cuts provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as the various aspects. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile...
Taking its name from the town at its heart, Nuits-St-Georges, the Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d’Or, the escarpment upon which lie the greatest of Burgundy’s vineyards. Though there are a number of very fine white wines made it is the reds for which the Côte de Nuits is truly famous. Compared with the red wines of the Côte de Beaune the reds from Nuits have more sophisticated tannins, extra body and a more sumptuous texture than their southern counterparts.

The soils of the area are predominantly limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The finest have a happy conjunction of silt and scree over marl with protected and sunny aspects in some of the side-valleys that cut into the escarpment from west to east. These cuts provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as the various aspects. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile respectively. More generic wines are produced at the top and bottom of these slopes, with the Premiers Crus and Grand Crus in a band running along the upper middle.

The climate here is semi-continental, though northerly winds can temper a hot summer while warmer winds from the south can bring warmth. Westerly winds that ultimately originate in the Atlantic can bring rain but at its worst may deliver devastating hail in incredibly localised storms. There is a degree of unpredictability about vintages in Burgundy that mean more variation than in any other fine wine region.

The appellations that sit above the generic regional ACs in the hierarchy are Marsannay, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Echézaux and Nuits-St-George. Côte de Nuits –Villages is made from grapes grown at either end of the Côte, where the soils and sites are less impressive. Gevrey-Chambertin is a complete and balanced wine, full and harmonious. Wines from Nuits-St-Georges are the most tannic and, like Pommards, need long maturation. For many Vosne-Romanée is the summit. Its wines have beautiful velvety palates: dense and soft, sensuous and tactile. Chambolle-Musigny is the lightest yet one of the most fragrant wines of the Côte de Nuits. It is perhaps Nuits's equivalent of Volnay; a pretty, fine boned wine with exquisite perfume and a silky palate.
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Domaine Drouhin Laroze

Gevrey is the largest of the Côte-de-Nuits communes with nine of the 24 Côte-de-Nuits grands crus. Douhin-Laroze was founded around 1850. 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. This 11-hectare estate includes the following grands crus: 1.49ha of Bonnes Mares, a tiny bit of Musigny, 1.47ha of Chambertin Clos de Bèze, 1.02ha of Clos de Vougeot, 0.67ha of Latricières-Chambertin, and 0.51ha of Chapelle-Chambertin. In addition, there are also Gevrey premiers crus in Lavaux St Jacques and Clos Prieur as well as this 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 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...
Gevrey is the largest of the Côte-de-Nuits communes with nine of the 24 Côte-de-Nuits grands crus. Douhin-Laroze was founded around 1850. 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. This 11-hectare estate includes the following grands crus: 1.49ha of Bonnes Mares, a tiny bit of Musigny, 1.47ha of Chambertin Clos de Bèze, 1.02ha of Clos de Vougeot, 0.67ha of Latricières-Chambertin, and 0.51ha of Chapelle-Chambertin. In addition, there are also Gevrey premiers crus in Lavaux St Jacques and Clos Prieur as well as this 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 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.
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Burgundy Vintage 2019

The defining character of the 2019 Burgundies is their extraordinary concentration and balance. Made from very low yields (approximately half a crop for whites, and 70% of a normal crop for reds), their density and intensity of flavour are seldom seen. The vintage is superb in both colours. Geographically and hierarchically there is widespread success.

Although this was statistically a very warm year, the flavours are within the normal Burgundian register. Some mitigating factors, outlined later, attempt to explain this.

The character of each terroir is preserved. Like all vintages of high maturity, the lesser vineyards which struggle to ripen in a cool year have done proportionately better, but not to the extent that the quality hierarchy is upset. There are some exceptional village wines this year. However, to be clear, these are very good but are not better than premiers crus. Some of the wines will be approachable young but will keep very well. However, I think these wines are...
The defining character of the 2019 Burgundies is their extraordinary concentration and balance. Made from very low yields (approximately half a crop for whites, and 70% of a normal crop for reds), their density and intensity of flavour are seldom seen. The vintage is superb in both colours. Geographically and hierarchically there is widespread success.

Although this was statistically a very warm year, the flavours are within the normal Burgundian register. Some mitigating factors, outlined later, attempt to explain this.

The character of each terroir is preserved. Like all vintages of high maturity, the lesser vineyards which struggle to ripen in a cool year have done proportionately better, but not to the extent that the quality hierarchy is upset. There are some exceptional village wines this year. However, to be clear, these are very good but are not better than premiers crus. Some of the wines will be approachable young but will keep very well. However, I think these wines are worth keeping in order to develop their full potential.

The only character that shows this is a year of high maturity is the alcohol levels, which are a little higher than usual. There are commonly between 13.5 and 14% and there are rare cases of wines at 14.5%. However, there is so much fruit concentration that one is virtually never aware of it.

I really like the 2019 vintage. These are dense and powerful wines, yet they have a certain tension. I think all Burgundy lovers, and especially those beginning their Burgundy journey, will enjoy them. Their concentrated flavours make them very approachable. Burgundy can make wines like this with controlled power, or more delicate wines in cooler years. The joy is to be found in the variety and uniqueness of each vintage. However, if you like very austere and delicate wines, these wines may not be for you.


White wines
It is difficult to go wrong in 2019. The whites are mineral and appley, and occasionally they reach into the white peach register. Only a few wines show very ripe characters and virtually never are they in the exotic, honeyed spectrum. The perceived acidity is fresh due to the relatively low pHs for this level of maturity. Again, it’s the concentration which is exceptional. I think the Chablis grands crus are remarkably good this year. All the grands crus are situated together on a hillside particularly rich in Kimmeridgian clay, which retains water, beneficial in a warm year, and gives structure to the wines which supports the concentrated fruit.

Value for money: the Mậconnais, Chalonnais wines like Montagny and entry-level Chablis remain good value. In terms of growers, look to Prudhon and Jean-Marc Vincent.


Red wines
These are uniformly good too. The quality of tannins in remarkably good. They are soft and suave in character. They wines have a mix of red and black fruit with no jamminess or raisiny flavours. The perceived acidity is fresh due to the relatively low pHs for this level of maturity.

I think it’s a very good year for village wines, and villages with clay soils. Village Nuits-Saint-Georges from Domaine de Bellene and Jean Chauvenet are exceptionally rich and dense with sweet tannins. Village Gevrey-Chambertins from Maume, Tawse and Mortet are outstanding and new supplier Lécheneaut have a very successful line-up of village wines. Cooler vineyards like Pernand-Vergelesses, or appellations with clay soils like Nuits and Pommard are also very successful.

Value for money: I think Marsannay, from both Sylvain Pataille and Château de Marsannay, offers great value for money, along with the lesser wines from Domaine de Bellene and Jadot, and the wines of Jean-Marc Vincent.


The weather
A frost on 5th April and a few hailstorms reduced the crop severely. Some poor weather at flowering further reduced the crop and caused millerandage (‘hens and chickens’) and coulure (shot berries). Apart from that, it is was generally an easy vintage for the growers with little disease. The small crop and warm weather produced the concentrated grapes which characterise the year.


A paradoxically well-balanced year: mitigating factors

Heat and drought
2019 was a year of variable temperatures, some heatwaves and some lows and some very dry spells. The timing of the heat was important as some of it did not directly translate into ripeness. Warm weather before véraison (grape colour change) has only a small effect on flavour ripeness. So the hot weather in February and March, before the vines had even flowered, advanced the cycle but did not directly affect the ripening of the grapes.

Heatwaves occurred in June and July where the temperature reached 40°C. But above about 30°C the vine goes into survival mode and shuts down. Because water is evaporating faster from its leaves than it can pump water from its reserves, it closes its leaf stomata to preserve its water and help it survive. Ripening
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