Vintage 2014 by Allen Meadows

Domaine Drouhin-Laroze

Philippe Drouhin described the 2014 growing season as "one where we had an extremely wet and clement winter as the only freezing days we had were in December. With that much water soaking the soils we expected an early start to the season and that's exactly what we got. March was dry and warm and this jump started the vegetative cycle. The dryness continued unabated but again there were sufficient accumulated water reserves that the vine did not suffer unduly. The flowering was quick and even and was already finished by the middle of June. The favorable conditions  though disappeared once July and August arrived and we suffered from a nearly constant barrage of wet weather that slowed the ripening process of the vines materially. It was frankly hard to maintain our optimism given the grey skies, cool temperatures and lack of luminosity. Thankfully September was near perfect with excellent ripening conditions and virtually no disease pressure along with a drying north wind. Despite the absence of the usual culprits of disease pressure such as rot, oidium or mildew, by contrast we were surprised by a virulent attack of the fruit fly known as Drosophila Suzukii as the warm temperatures allowed them to flourish. We began picking mid-September and brought in ripe and clean fruit where the effects of the north wind could be seen in terms of the concentration. While the fruit was mostly clean we did a very thorough sorting job to be sure we avoided any grapes with volatile acidity from the fruit flies. The fermentations were easy and we did use some whole clusters. At this early point I can say with confidence that 2014 gave us very good to excellent wines that offer fine intensity and excellent colors with a lovely interplay between the relatively fine tannins and bright acidities. Stylistically the 2014s are in the same general lines as 2010, 2012 and 2013. For more offerings from Drouhin-Laroze, see their operation below called Maison Laroze de Drouhin.

(Atherton Wine Imports, www.awiwine.com, Atherton, CA; Encore Wine Imports, www.encorewineimports.net, Pleasanton, CA, Terlato Wines, Lake Bluff, II, Winebow, Inc., www.winebow.com, Montvale, NJ, Fines Wines Melrose Park, IL, Favorite Brand Dallas, TX, Bibendum Wine Ltd, www.bibendum-wine.co.uk, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com, Fine&Rare Wines, www.frw.co.uk, Davy&Co., www.davywine.co.uk, Goedhuis&Co., www.goedhuis.com, Decorum, Vintners, www.decvin.com, Averys Fine Wine Merchants, www.averys.com, Tanners Wine, www.tanners-wines.co.uk, Laytons, www.laytons.co.uk, Bowes Wine, www.boweswine.co.uk, Justerini & Brooks, www.justerinis.com, and Anthony Sarjeant, anthony@anthonysarjeant.co.uk, all  UK.)

2014 -  Musigny


(from a .12 ha parcel). A difficult nose is composed of wood toast, menthol and reduction. There is good volume, focus and power to the velvet-textured middle weight plus flavors that exhibit plenty of minerality on the complex if moderately drying and disjointed finale. As was the case with many of the wines in the range, there is a lot of gas present so my predicted range extends the benefit of the doubt.

2014 - Morey-Saint-Denis


(from Très Girard). A pungent nose combines notes of reduction and soft wood. There is good detail and an attractive vibrancy to the delicious middle weight flavors that display some rusticidy on the lingering if slightly linear finish.

2014 - Gevrey-Chambertin


Here too there is just enough wood to notice on the ripe and fresh nose that evidences notes of dark currant, earth and discreet game nuances. There is fine detail to the delineated and stony middle weight flavors that possess good richness on the fleshy if middle edgy finish. As with several wines in the range there is quite a bit of gas present that is probably responsible for the edginess and my range takes this into account.

2014 - Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru



A more subtle application of wood easily allows the more elegant and less obviously earthy aromas of various cool dark berry fruit scents to shine. There is good vibrancy to the delicious and delineated middle weight flavors that possess a relatively tender mouth feel, all wrapped in a youthfully austere finish that appears to be slightly riper and certainly more persistent.

2014 - Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru

"Au Closeau”


(from 60+ year old vines). Once again there is a touch of wood spice in evidence on the ultra-fresh, cool and pure aromas of black pinot fruit, earth and herbal tea. The finer and more mineral-inflected medium weight flavors possess a lovely sense of underlying tension to the moderately austere but solidly persistent finale.

2014- Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru

"Clos Prieur”


Moderate reduction is enough to block an evaluation of the softly oaky nose. There is by contrast good freshness to the intense and muscular but refined medium-bodied flavors that deliver good if not truly special depth on the gently oaky and firm finish.

2014 - Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru

« Lavaut-Saint-Jacques »


(from a 3ha parcel of vines planted in 1943). A discreet touch of wood surrounds the overtly sauvage-inflected dark berry fruit and violet aromas. I like the sleek and focused character of the mineral-driven medium-bodied flavors that possess evident muscle before culminating in a similar but more complex finale. Note that moderate patience will be required as this is firmly structured.

2014 - Chambolle-Musigny


(a mix of 80% Les Baudes and 20% from the villages portion Les Véroilles). Strong reduction completely flattens the fruit. Otherwise there is a lovely sense of energy to the intrinsically refined medium-bodied flavors that possess a taut muscularity before finishing in a somewhat tough and edgy finish. My guess is that it's the abundant gas that is responsible for the finish because the supporting tannins appear to be ripe. This is notably hard to read.

2014 -  Chapelle-Chambertin


(from a 52 ha parcel in En la Chapelle). Generous but not dominant wood and menthol notes fight somewhat with the otherwise fresh black cherry and pungent earth aromas. The round and naturally sweet medium-bodied flavors brim with both plenty of dry extract and a fine minerality that continues onto the seductively textured and relatively fine if youthfully austere finish.

2014 - Latricières-Chambertin


(from a .67 ha parcel of extremly old vines ).

Fresh and relatively bright red berry fruit aromas laced with earth and wet stone nuances are trimmed in a noticeable if not aggressive toastiness. There is good underlying tension to the well-detailed and intense medium-bodied flavors that possess good punch on the overtly mineral-driven finale that exhibits slightly better overall depth and length and marginally firmer tannins.

2014 -  Bonnes-Mares


(from a 1,5 ha parcel that is almost entirely in the terres rouges section; made with ~ 35% whole clusters). A pungent nose of reduction and wood make the nose impossible to assess. The powerful, muscular and imposing big-bodied flavors possess excellent mid-palate concentration that coats the palate with dry extract, all wrapped in a slightly drying finish though again, I believe this is due to the gas and thus my range offers the benefit of the doubt.

2014 -  Clos de Vougeot


(from a superbly situated 1 ha parcel high on the hill).  Generous if not dominant wood and menthol scents fight somewhat with the ripe essence of plum, dark berries, game and earth. Here too there is excellent volume and plenty of power to the mouth coating and muscular flavors that are robust and quite serious but a bit less austere than usual. That said, note that this is very firmly structured and is clearly going to require a long stay in a cool cellar.

2014 -  Chambertin-Clos de Bèze


(from a parcel of 1,5 ha of vines planted in 1949, made with 25% whole clusters).  Moderate wood frames exuberantly spicy and fresh red and dark berry fruit that carries ample Gevrey-style earth and underbrush influences. There is good size, weight and volume to the admirably intense broad-shouldered flavors that evidence a light minerality on the impressively long but not really austere finish. This is a big but harmonious effort that should age gracefully for years to come though note that it will likely need at least 10.

Maison Laroze de Drouhin

Philippe Drouhin's daughter Caroline directs this small negociant operation called Laroze de Drouhin. This is obviously a play on words to suggest The Rose of Drouhin. She buys in fruit rather than must and her first vintage was 2007. Please see the domaine summary above for general vintage comments. (Justerin  & Brooks, www.justerini.com, Averys Fine Wine Merchants, www.averys.com, Tanners Wine, www.tanners-wines.co.uk, and Anthony Sarjeant, anthony@anthonysarjeant.co.uk, all UK).

2014 -  Bourgogne


Dark ruby. There is good freshness to the mildly oaky earthy dark berry fruit aromas that introduce the velvety and punch middle weight flavors. I like the density of the rustic, frank and

and solidly persistent finish and this should reward a few years of bottle age if desired.

2014 -  Fixin


Here too there is a mild touch of wood framing the plum, violet, earth and vaguely sauvage-inflected nose. There is equally good energy to the lightly stony middle weight flavors that culminate in an evre-so-slightly edgy finish but I suspect that it will round out with a few years of cellaring.

2014 -  Nuits-Saint-Georges

La Charmotte


Noticeable wood sets off the markedly earthy nose and various dark berries, underbrush and humus scents. There is fine concentration to the relatively robust and punchy medium-bodied flavors that deliver fine length on the rustic finish that is very Nuits in basic character.

2014 -  Gevrey-Chambertin


Here too there is enough wood to remark upon though the openly sauvage aromas of dark berries, earth, plum and violet have no trouble being appreciated. There is a lovely sense of vibrancy to the firm, delicious and lightly mineral-driven flavors that display decent length on the mildly austere and tough finish. I suspect that the abundant gas is causing the toughness and my predicted range offers the benefit of the doubt in this regard.

BURGHOUND.COM, January 2016

Par Allen Meadows