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Worthy of the Holidays
By Mary Ewing-Mulligan
Dec 19, 2017
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Joseph Drouhin, Côte de Beaune Rouge (Burgundy, France), 2015 (Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., $42):  Red Burgundy is special, and the holiday season is special.  While I must confess that occasionally I have chosen not to drink a bottle of fine Burgundy from our cellar because “It’s too special,” at this time of year I am likely to say, “Bring it on!”  During the holidays, we deserve Burgundy.


This particular Burgundy is one that you might not see very often.  The producer, Joseph Drouhin, is one of most recognizable names from France’s Burgundy region.  A family-owned company, Joseph Drouhin produces white and red wines all across Burgundy, from Chablis in the northern reaches down to Beaujolais at the region’s opposite end.  Many of the wines come from vineyards that the family owns and farms bio-dynamically.  (The family was also a pioneer in Oregon, where its Domaine Drouhin Oregon is celebrating its 30th anniversary.) 


Likewise, the name “Cote de Beaune” is widely known.  It is the district that forms the southern part of the famous “Côte d’Or,” the “golden slope” of vineyard land that’s home to the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines.  But for this wine, the name “Côte de Beaune” applies not to the entire district but to certain vineyards that lie on a hill above the city of Beaune.  Because the vineyards lie beyond the limits of the commune-level appellation of Beaune, they cannot carry that commune name; nor does the “Côte de Beaune-Villages” appellation apply to this territory, because those wines hail from multiple commune-level territories.  Thus a wine named Côte de Beaune is fairly unusual.


This wine comes from a 7.5 acre vineyard owned by the Drouhin family, as well as from the younger vines of Drouhin’s premier cru Beaune Clos des Mouches and other declassified Beaune Premier Cru vines.  Its vintage, 2015, ranks among the best vintages of Burgundy, according to winery CEO Frédéric Drouhin.  The growing season was hot and dry, making for an early harvest of extremely healthy grapes, producing red wines with intense aromas of ripe red fruits, attractive tannins and a rich, dense structure.


The 2015 Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune shows the finesse, harmony and purity of flavor that are typical of Drouhin’s wines.  Its aroma is vibrant with delicate notes of strawberry, red currant and tart red cherry; the wine’s flavors are similar, showing freshness and focus.  The wine is fully dry, with fresh, complex fruitiness balanced by fine-grained tannins and refreshing acidity.  The wine’s texture is silky -- all the more so in a large glass -- and its long finish sings with red fruit flavors.  Although this wine is immediately delicious, you will find increasing depth and nuance emerging as you drink it slowly.  A few additional years of aging should serve it well.


This is a lovely red Burgundy in the fragrant, fruity, gentle and ethereal style of Beaune.  It is worthy of the holidays or an occasion when you want to spoil yourself.


90 Points