Frédéric Drouhin and Véronique Drouhin-Boss of Maison Joseph Drouhin are an exception in Burgundy, senior editor Bruce Sanderson told the crowd as the brother and sister came on stage. “In Burgundy, transferring from one generation to the next is not always easy,” Sanderson said.
Robert Drouhin, who received Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award this year, has handed over control of Joseph Drouhin to his four children, the fourth generation, and jointly they now run the winery.
Company president Frédéric Drouhin walked the audience through the history of the winery, which was founded by his family in 1880, accompanied by photos from the past and the present. “Wine is clearly about stories,” said Frédéric, who hopes the eight young children of the fifth generation will carry on. “Working in Burgundy is a privilege.”
Winemaker Véronique Drouhin-Boss discussed vineyards and Pinot Noir. “We focus very much on the elegance of the variety,” she said. No greater example of that was the wine they shared with the audience: the grand cru Joseph Drouhin Bonnes Mares 1990 (93 points, $91 on release). After 23 years it had taken on an almost ethereal quality; as Véronique said, it offered incredible tobacco and truffle aromas. “This is where good Pinot goes with aging.”
Executive editor Thomas Matthews summed up the Bonnes Mares well when he told the crowd, “The sommeliers said that, when they decanted the wine, they all tasted it in silence. When the sommeliers are stunned into silence, you know you are drinking an incredible wine.”
Joseph Drouhin Bonnes Mares 1990 (93 points, $91)