Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet the Boca Bacchanal Vintners: Burgundy's Maison Joseph Drouhin!

With the kickoff to the 10th Annual Boca Bacchanal just over a week away, I thought I'd take this opportunity to introduce you to our wonderful vintners who'll be participating this year.

First up is Maison Joseph Drouhin hailing from Burgundy, France one of the worlds most renowned wine regions. Laurent Drouhin, one of Joseph Drouhin's four grandchildren, will be representing his family's wines at Boca Bacchanal this year. Laurent and his three siblings (Philippe, Véronique and Frédéric) represent the fourth generation of the family and are all involved in the operations of the family estate.

Laurent Drouhin
Maison Joseph Drouhin was founded in 1880 and is one of the largest estates in Burgundy, including over 182 acres of vineyards in Chablis, Cote de Nuits, Cotes de Beaune, and Cote Chalonnaise. More than two-thirds of the estate's vineyards are classified as Premier and Grand Cru and with close to 90 different appellations, the estate offers a very comprehensive array of Burgundy terroirs. Maison Joseph Drouhin is  known for crafting wines that are reflective of their individual terroir and vintage, and in a sincere effort to preserve the individuality of each appellation, the Drouhin firm constantly strives for wines of breed, finesse and elegance.

Responsible agricultural practices are also very important to the family, which subscribes to an organic and biodynamic approach. Only natural products are used in the vineyards and the soil which reflects the family's dedication "to bring natural answers to natural problems." In recognition of its ecologically responsible practices, Maison Joseph Drouhin was awarded Organic Certification for all grapes grown within its vineyards starting with the 2009 vintage. This certification comes almost twenty years after organic practices were introduced by Philippe Drouhin in the early 1990's, shortly after joining the family estate.

Laurent Drouhin and Me
I recently had the opportunity to meet Laurent and taste through Maison Joseph Drouhin's offerings from the 2009 vintage. Like many years ending in a "9" (1999, 1989, 1969, 1959 and 1949), 2009 proved to be quite exceptional. While not an "easy" vintage, the end result was wines with a lovely expression of fruit and great structure that beautifully reflected their respective terroirs. Although enjoyable now, the 2009's have excellent potential for aging as well. 

Some personal favorites of the 2009's were whites such as the Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir which Laurent suggested pairing with scallops or even tuna tartare with wasabi. For the deliciously creamy and divine Clos des Mouches Premier Cru Blanc he suggested the simple (yet decadent) flavors of grilled lobster with butter, salt and pepper. Among the reds, the Volnay was light and lovely and perfect for pairing with a selection of charcuterie while the elegant and seductive Chambolle-Musigny was a natural pairing for game. 

On Friday March 23rd, Maison Joseph Drouhin will be paired with Chef Ken Frank of La Toque for one of the six Vintner Dinners. You can also enjoy these Burgundian beauties and sample the stellar 2009 vintage at the Bacchus Bash on Saturday night and at Sunday's Grand Tasting. Hope to see you there!


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