2012 Chablis Les Clos Vaudon Drouhin

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Average critic rating : 93.0 points



The 2012 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos comes from two parcels that together make 1.3 hectares that were planted in 1954 and 1969. It has a very focused nose with hints of dandelion, bruised apple, orange rind and hazelnut, every swirl revealing another facet. The palate is very well-balanced with well-judged acidity, a little higher than Drouhin’s other grand crus. It is interwoven through the notes of citrus fruit, smoke and hazelnut. This is very cohesive, those (Saar) Riesling-like, petrol-like-notes surfacing toward the finish. Excellent. Drink 2017-2030. ||Drouhin Vaudon is an idyll tucked away down a single lane in the village of Chichee. The soothing sound of water streaming over the weir is audible long before the former mill comes into view nestled among the willows waiting for Pissarro or Monet to arrive with their paints. The interior is furnished with the family’s antique furniture, although none of the Drouhin family lives here. In fact, there is no winery in the Chablis region. The must is transported down to their large facility on the outskirts of Beaune some two hour’s drive away. I met Frederic Drouhin, who has the most piercing blue eyes you can imagine, the youngest of the four children and head winemaker Denis Marie. Frederic first explained about the history of the estate. “My father Robert, the grandson of Joseph Drouhin, is the one that expanded the estate to what it is today. My father was 24 when he arrived in 1957 and he was able to expand the holdings in the Cote de Nuits. In the late 1960s he tasted old Chablis and said that there is terroir here and a style. He felt that Chablis should not be abandoned. So he took the Citroen and a geological map and in a couple of years he purchased around 40 hectares of village, premier and grand cru in the real Kimmeridgian soil. For many years we sold the wine under the Joseph Drouhin label, but consumers could not believe that Drouhin had wines in Chablis. So in 2008, on the 40th anniversary, we decided to marry the name of the house with the name of the family. When Philippe (Drouhin) came in 1988, he decided to move into organic viticulture, which we felt would be better for the vineyard and so he hired Denis Marie. Back then, it was almost negative to say we were doing organic viticulture and we were doing it for the whole property. In the 1990s we decided to move to biodynamic viticulture. All the preparations are made from plants around the locality and we are reducing the amount of copper and sulfur used in the vineyard. All the vineyards are worked by horse apart from one because it is too steep, the village crus picked by machine and the Premier and Grand Crus by hand.” I then asked Denis Marie about the 2012 growing season. “The 2012 vintage? There was a very early spring with unusually warm temperatures, especially in March, which promoted growth so that we were 2 weeks ahead. After March, the weather changed. April and May were cold and rainy with more than 100mm of rain in April, which slowed down the growth. The first flowering was at the end of May. June was unusually cold and rainy and then the weather changed that reduced the crop potential. July and August were warm, sunny and much drier here than in the Cote d’Or, but fortunately the water table was high from the spring. We had a healthy crop, limited in quantity. The first to be picked were in Chablis on September 23 and the harvest lasted 10 days. The premier crus are aged in stainless steel and the grand cru in used 300- and 500-hectoliter barrels (we have been moving away from new oak because people said that it was too Burgundian.) We are about 20% down in terms of production and the wines were bottled just before the end of July 2013.” And the domaine is continuing to expand piecemeal. “Last year we purchased one hectare of Mont de Milieu and this will be blended with an organic farmer whose vines lie adjacent. For 2012 we were around 20% down in production. The must is transferred into small vessels and driven down to be vinified in Beaune.” Wine Advocate.August, 2014


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