Admirably situated on a hill between Pommard and Beaune, with a direct southern exposure, Clos des Mouches is one of the most famous Premier Cru vineyards of Beaune. The name "Clos des Mouches" probably goes back to the beginning of the Middle-Ages (around 1550) because of its slopes facing South/South-East: a very favourable place for keeping bees. The word "Mouches" (Flies) was actually the local name for bees. As bee keepers started to set up their bee-hives, the area became known as "Clos des Mouches" (i.e. the Enclosure of the Honey Bees).
After the destruction of the Burgundy vineyards due to the phylloxera epidemic of 1875-1880, Clos des Mouches was entirely replanted with Pinot Noir. Having fortunately come across some ancient documents which revealed that the vineyard had previously produced an excellent white wine, Maurice Drouhin, in 1921, began replanting with some Chardonnay. The result was of exceptional quality. To-day, there is an almost equal balance between white and red.
Some of the stocks he planted are still alive to-day. They constitute a precious genetic pool, especially when grafted onto superior root-stocks. They are not vigorous and produce tiny berries with a thick skin. The density of plantation is high and the yield is low.
Soil doesn't change much in the Clos. Lighter and stony at the top, coloured with broken stones at the bottom, with a good variety of chalky marls bringing complexity. Once harvested, the white grapes are crushed in a pneumatic press. The juice obtained is then fermented in oak barrels for a year during which the malolactic fermentation will take place.
Clos des Mouches white is a generous wine combining the body of Corton Charlemagne and the elegance of Montrachet. Its hue is bright, limpid, and pale golden. It has an elegantly perfumed nose of smoky citrus with tinges of vanilla. On the palate, the aromas are reminiscent of honey, almond, lemon and, as the wine gets older, grilled almonds.
It is best served at 12°C (53F) and is perfect with fish or white meat in sauce. It needs at least two years in bottle to fully develop and can last 8 to 12 years.
"Pale lemon; persistant, light, lemon-zest and oak-scent nose; well balanced, supple, fruity middleweight; ripely juicy, moderate complexity, stylish..."
-The World of Fine Wine
"As rich and opulent as its red wine pair, this is ripe and soft, a swirl of velvet tempered by citrus and sweet and fresh acidity. The toast of the wood is only just evident, its presence felt as much as tasted. Despite its richness, it does remain wedded to Burgundy, as evidenced by the tight, steely finish. "
"Musky, reduced aromas of flint, almond and ginger, plus an element of exotic fruits. Fat, sweet and layered, with a riper fruit quality, stronger spiciness and less obvious minerality than the 2005 version. A very ripe, supple style, finishing with strong stone fruit flavors. The underlying stony quality of the vineyard emerges on the back end, but without bringing any austerity. 90-92"
International Wine Cellar
"Honey, bees wax, peach, grapefruit, diverse flowers, and chalk dust in the nose of Drouhin’s white 2006 Beaune Clos des Mouches usher in a palate of striking delicacy, poise, and refinement for the vintage, yet for all that flatteringly creamy in texture and quite capable of supporting and complimenting a significant element of new oak, which shows up as toast and vanilla. There is an underlying sense of almost stony firmness that seems to be typical for this site, even in such a rich vintage. This wine should benefit from at least 6-8 years of bottle maturation. The 2005 is similarly promising, though less charming today."
The Wine Advocate
"High-toned oak aromas segue into a tightly wound, lemon- and hazelnut-flavored white. This has density, but needs time to balance the bracing structure. Best from 2010 through 2016. 600 cases imported."