Joseph Drouhin Chablis Vaudesir 1996
Chablis, as a wine region, really began in 1114 when the Cistercian monks built the Abbey of Pontigny nearby. In the 17th Century, there were only 640 hectares under vines (1 600 acres). Thanks to judicious observation, only the best soils were selected. The geologists have now told us that this sedimentary soil dates back to the Jurassic era and that its unique particularity is to have a fossil oyster, Exogyra Virgula, billions of them, embedded in its clay. Joseph DROUHIN is to-day a very important vineyard owner in Chablis. When the domain was put together, in the late sixties, part of the land had been abandoned. In the 19th Century, just before the phylloxera crisis, the "département" of Yonne (where Chablis is located) had as many as 40 000 hectares (100 000 acres) under vines. The proximity of Paris made it a convenient source for the capital's consumption of fine, as well as more ordinary, wines. At the heart of this region, 1 000 hectares (2 500 acres) were then planted with Chardonnay, whose name is still locally known as "Beaunois" (i.e. from Beaune). Then, in 1885, the phylloxera disease struck and a long period of slow degradation followed. By 1960, half of the vineyards had disappeared. The other half survived because they were somewhat sheltered from the rigours of harsh Winters and Spring frosts. Numerous fields lay fallow and countless cuveries had been abandoned. The vigneron had turned to other types of culture and very often his children had left for good. Robert DROUHIN, on his first visit, fell in love with Chablis. Since it is now possible to control frost and to cultivate steep slopes with tractors, it became clear to Robert DROUHIN that what was happening in Côte d'Or could be successfully duplicated in Chablis. After a painstaking research involving study of ancient maps, conversations with old vignerons and tasting of old bottles from abandoned terroirs, Robert DROUHIN was able to locate the best parcels, especially those located in the valley of Vauvillien. To-day, Joseph DROUHIN owns 40 hectares (100 acres), with a sizeable portion in the Grand Crus (7 acres) and Premier Crus (17 acres). It is important to note that the Drouhin domain is located strictly within the historical boundary of the appellation. Chablis is still a difficult region for the wine-maker. The climate is continental, hot in Summer and cold in Winter. Frosts are frequent. In spite of all these hardships, Robert DROUHIN is adamant to keep the yields in his vineyards as low as possible by pruning very short. At harvest time, the grapes are hand-picked and pressed at Joseph DROUHIN's own winery in Chablis. The next day, the must is brought to the cellars in Beaune and put in to barrels for the alcoholic fermentation. After 8 to 9 months of ageing, the wine is bottled. Les Clos is one of the seven Grand Crus on the large hill directly overlooking the town of Chablis. It is here that the vine was first planted : its name probably refers to the stone walls that surrounded the vineyard centuries ago. Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos is quite a special wine. With its hue of green and gold, its penetrating aroma and its unique combination of elegance, nerve and flintiness, it is unsurpassed. It also has an excellent potential for ageing, and after 5 or 6 years, the wine develops even greater, more complex flavours. In a good vintage, it will keep easily 15 to 20 years !
DEDICATION TO THE DIVERSITY OF BURGUNDY With close to 90 different appellations, Joseph Drouhin offers a fascinating array of Burgundy terroirs in all their authenticity and subtle variations. A FAMILY HERITAGE For the last 130 years, Maison Joseph Drouhin has been in the hands of the Drouhin family. Today, the fourth generation is at the helm, animated by the same passion that inspired the founder of the company.
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