In the cavernous cellars away from the November chill outside, Caroline Drouhin recounted a ‘nice’ 2017 vintage season where she said many would have found it easy with the large crops to make a ‘low level wine’. They themselves did two green harvests to reduce yields and resisted the temptation to make up for the losses of 2016. They began the harvest on 6th September and finished on the 15th; and it rained the next day! A beautiful range of wines has resulted, all with dense fruit and silky textures.
With house and cellars on a large leafy plot within the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, family run Domaine Drouhin-Laroze estate has 11.5 ha of vines. Their pride and joy is a wonderfully large 1.5 ha holding of Clos de Bèze which was reputedly bought by granny Drouhin on a whim whilst out walking the dog! A huge dog called Higgins often provides a welcome at the cellar door before the descent into one cavernous cellar then down into another. These cellars were the work of Prussian soldiers in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo, and are rare in being of exactly the same dimensions. The domaine was established in Gevrey-Chambertin 1850 when Jean-Baptiste Laroze started a vineyard operation. His granddaughter Suzanne Laroze married Alexandre Drouhin in 1919, and henceforth the estate was known as known as Drouhin-Laroze. It is now run by Philippe and Christine Drouhin, and more and more by their offspring, Caroline and Nicolas, who represent the sixth generation. Caroline runs the mini-négoçiant side of the business, involved in taking in grapes from a further 3.5 ha of vines for the Laroze (the Rose) de Drouhin labelled wines. Also, rather usefully, her husband works in the barrel-making industry. For both sides of the business, they employ a rigorous selection of grapes during several pickings in the vineyard and on the sorting table, making as a result some very noteworthy wines.