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.”
Santenay is the southernmost appellation in the Côte d’Or. The appellation includes the communes of Santenay and Remigny and it has 813 vineyard acres. Both red and white wines can be made within the Santenay appellation, though in practice about 85% of the wine produced here is red. Pinot Blanc may be used in white wines, though most white Santenays are 100% Chardonnay. Though there are no Grands Crus, Santenay boasts 12 Premiers Crus. Among the best Premiers Crus vineyards are Clos de Tavannes, La Comme, Les Gravières and Le Passe Temps. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “good Santenays share a robust, tannic, earthy character with a bouquet that suggests cherry and strawberry fruit intertwined with the smell of sautéed almonds.” Clive Coates has noted that the white wines of Santenay “should be crisp, medium-bodied and fruity, less racy but fuller than Saint-Aubins, perhaps with a touch of spice…”
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.