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Our friends at Pol Roger, the UK agents for Joseph Drouhin, kindly put together a dinner at Medlar to revisit Drouhin's 2011s. Set amongst 2009, 2010 and 2012, 2011 has been largely overlooked. I think that the trade as a whole can be guilty of generalising when it comes to vintages as a whole. It seems they are either a must-buy or swept under the carpet. 2004 is a good example. Due to the conditions, there are a lot of green and vegetal wines. Yes, there were challenges for the vignerons in Burgundy to overcome, but there are still great wines to be found. I was delighted to be invited as I was keen to taste the best that 2011 had to offer, presented by the affable and eloquent Veronique Drouhin.

We kicked off the evening with the Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche and the Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc. I have definitely never had Montrachet as an aperitif! Obviously, still an infant but the texture and finish, in particular, were unmistakeable. I usually find the Clos des Mouches to be quite a rich, showy wine but it was a shrinking violet compared to the King of Whites. It opened up with some time in the glass and was very fine in its own right. Medlar's signature crab raviolo paired well.

Email Attachment for Event 6801 - 2011 Drouhin Retrospective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next came Batard Montrachet and Corton Charlemagne. Drouhin only make 3 barrels of Batard so this was a real treat. Typically plump and dense, this would benefit from further ageing. The Corton Charlemagne was one of my favourites all night. All the poise, tension, energy and precision you look for in a Corton, hard to resist now and I would recommend this to anyone. The mushroom soup with poached quails eggs was also enjoyed.

A flight of Chambolle kicked off the reds and what a trio. The generic Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru which is blended from a handful of sites, each too small to be vinified separately so they are co-fermented as one. Classic Chambolle and affordable, certainly when compared to the two subsequent wines. Next was the Baudes 1er Cru which lies underneath Bonnes Mares and is a bit more serious, as you might expect. A touch of reduction blew off to reveal a brooding, complex wine. Finally, the Amoureuses 1er cru was irresistible. Fragrant, elegant…just a beautiful wine. So much so that the veal rump with reblochon tart received less attention that it probably deserved.

Clos St Denis and Gevrey Lavaut St Jacques were next up. The Lavaut was typical of Gevrey - a bit more reserved and measured than the exuberant Chambolles but no less enjoyable. Clos St Denis perhaps doesn't get the respect it warrants. Silky, soft, complex, bursting with fruit. It should be considered as it is cheaper than Bonnes Mares to the south and Clos de la Roche to the North. Grouse with bread sauce and top pinot…does it get any better?

Email Attachment for Event 6801 - 2011 Drouhin Retrospective

Yes - it gets better. An impressive spread of cheese hit the table with three heavyweights: Griotte, Clos de Beze and Grands Echezeaux. Griotte may be my favourite vineyard and the wines are great. Clos de Beze was perhaps the most closed on the evening but the density suggested that it had a long future ahead of it. Grands Echezeaux produces some wonderful wines but I think its reputation is hindered by the association with the relatively large Echezeaux where the quality can be varied. The quality here was not in question though.

It is clear that 2011 should not be overlooked. There are age-worthy wines and wines that can be enjoyed now. The moral of the story is to never write off a vintage. Of course, these wines are the cream of the crop and hardly for every day consumption but I have had plenty of other delicious Burgundies at Villages and Bourgogne level. Give them a try. Also, go to Medlar - the food is excellent.

http://www.medlarrestaurant.co.uk/

Will Evered