Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur Premier Cru 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 89-92
Five generations have been running the Domaine for 163 years, Caroline and Nicolas, Christine and Philippe's children represent the sixth. In 1850, Jean-Baptiste Laroze started a vineyard operation in Gevrey Chambertin. He was later succeeded by Felix LarozeAROZE.
In 1919, Suzanne, the daughter of Félix, married Alexandre Drouhin, who owned vines in Chambolle Musigny and the estate was henceforth called Drouhin-Laroze. The Estate is currently run by Philippe and Christine Drouhin, assisted by their children Caroline and Nicolas.
Each successive generation continued to develop the Estate with the sole objective of investing in hillside vineyards, which was a visionary and risky choice. At the time, those vineyards were already very expensive and not very productive. The bet paid off and today, thanks to the sacrifices and risk-taking of the previous generations, the 11.50 hectare Estate is one of the most prestigious in terms of diversity, quality and the surface area of its appellations.
This small village is home to the Grands Crus in the farthest northerly stretches of Côte de Nuits and is famous for some of the deepest and firmest Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Gevrey boasts nine Grands Crus, the best of which are arguably Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. As with all of the fragmented vineyards of Burgundy, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the two, which are situated adjacent with Clos de Bèze slightly further up the hill than Le Chambertin. Clos de Bèze has a shallower soil and if you’re really counting, may produce wines less intense but more likely to charm. Some compare Le Chambertin in both power and plentitude only to the prized Romanée-Conti Grand Cru farther south in Vosne-Romanée.
Two other Grands Crus vineyards, Mazis-Chambertin (also written Mazy-) and Latricières-Chambertin command almost as much regard as Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The upper part of Mazy, called Les Mazis Haut is the best and Latricières-Chambertin offers an abundance of juicy fruit and a silky texture in the warmer vintages.
Other Grands Crus are Ruchottes-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin.
The most respected Pinot Noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin are robust and powerful but at the same time, velvety and expressive: black fruit, black liquorice and chocolate come into play. After some time in the bottle, the wines are harmonious with bright and sometimes candied fruit, and aromas of musk, truffle and forest floor. These have staying power.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”