Maison Joseph Drouhin is one of Burgundy’s most venerable estates. It was founded in 1880 by Joseph Drouhin, who bought a 100-year old negociant business and began acquiring parcels in such legendary appellations as Clos des Mouches and Clos de Vougeot. By the mid-20th century the 148-acre estate was being run by Robert Drouhin, who continued to acquire vineyards and improve the quality of the wine. (Robert also purchased 100 acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where his daughter makes Oregon Pinot Noirs under the Domaine Drouhin label.) The maison makes Grand Cru, Premier Cru and villages wines in Chablis, Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise, Maconnais and Beaujolais. Noted Burgundy expert Clive Coates has called the maison “one of the most perfectionist” of the Burgundy producers, and Robert M. Parker Jr. notes that Drouhin’s wines “are among the very best of the modern style of red and white Burgundies.”
Clos de la Roche is a 41-acre Grand Cru vineyard in the Morey St.-Denis appellation in the Cotes de Nuits, in northern Burgundy. The tiny village of Morey St.-Denis is just south of Gevrey-Chambertin and Clos de Roche is considered the appellation’s most superior Grand Cru. The vineyard’s elevation ranges from 270 to 300 meters, and its soil is extremely rocky with excellent drainage. The soil is largely limestone, and in some places it is barely a foot deep. Writer Clive Coates calls Clos de Roche “the classiest of the Morey Grand Crus.” The largest landholders are Ponsot with 8.35 acres; Dujac, 4.88 acres; and Armand Rousseau, 3.7 acres.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.