The Laroze family first obtained vines in Gevrey-Chambertin in 1850, but the current estate did not take shape until 1919 when Suzanne Laroze married Alexandre Drouhin of Chambolle-Musigny. The joining of the two families resulted in the formation of Domaine Druohin-Laroze. Located in the center of Gevrey-Chambertin, the domaine resembles a Bordeaux chateau. A large stone wall surrounds the property, whose only entrance is an imposing iron gate. At the center of the property, is a large, 19th century manor house. Resting in the two story wine cellar beneath the house are labels bearing the names Clos Vougeot, Bonnes Mares, Clos de Beze and Les Musigny. Under the leadership of Bernard Drouhin, the domaine built a solid reputation, but a changing of the guard occurred with his death in 2001. Bernard’s son Philippe took control of the estate and made several changes to further improve the quality of the wines. Yields were cut and more precise temperature control was implemented during the vinification. The efforts quickly paid off and subsequent vintages produced deeper, richer wines.
Domaine Drouhin-Laroze owns 11.50 hectares of vineyards, including village, premier cru and grand cru sites. In addition to an excellent village Gevrey bottling, the estate makes an intense Morey-Saint-Denis from old vines (1946) in the lieu-dit Tres Girard (0.18 ha.). A special village wine is made in Chambolle-Musigny from two parcels. 80% of the cuvee comes from the premier cru Les Baudes (0.18 ha.) and 20% from the lieu-dit Les Veroilles (0.04 ha.), both of which adjoin Bonnes Mares. In Gevrey, the domaine owns plots in four premier cru vineyards, including the rarely seen Craipillot (0.26 ha.). A slightly rustic, gamey wine is made from vines planted here in 1943 and 1953. Lavaux-Saint-Jacques, located just south of Clos-Saint-Jacques, is regarded as one of the best premier cru sites of Gevrey. Drouhin-Laroze’s small parcel in Lavaux (0.30 ha.) dates from 1943 and produces a rich and powerfully structured wine.
Few estates can match Drouhin-Laroze’s impressive line-up of grand cru holdings. The domaine has a well situated parcel in the “Des Papes” area of Clos Vougeot (1.03 ha.). Located in the upper portion of the vineyard, the vines produce a full-bodied, concentrated wine that is certainly of grand cru caliber. With 1.49 hectares, the domaine is the second largest owner in Bonnes Mares. From a parcel located on terres blanches soil in the Chambolle portion of the vineyard, a firm, meaty wine of incredible complexity is made. As expected, the grand crus of Gevrey are well represented at this esate. In addition to plots in Latricieres-Chambertin (0.67 ha.) and Chapelle-Chambertin (0.52 ha.), Drouhin-Laroze has vines that date back to 1949 in Chambertin-Clos desBeze (1.39 ha.). Powerful and austere, yet refined and complex, the Clos des Beze is Gevrey at its most complete. The crown jewel of the portfolio was added in 1996 when a precious plot of LeMusigny (0.12 ha.) was purchased. Seductively fragrant and silky in texture, Drouhin-Laroze’s Le Musigny is one of the great wines of Burgundy. Sadly, only two barrels are made.
The winemaking applied by Philippe is traditional. Green harvesting is performed and the yields are stringent. A vibrating sorting is used to ensure only the best fruit enters the cellar. After fermentation, the wines rest in oak for eighteen months. The grand cru cuvees see 100% new barrels and the premier cru 50%. One year old barrels are used for the village level wines. All the wines are bottled without fining or filtration. The result is dark, powerful cuvees that are a little rustic and unforgiving in their youth. Time in the bottle, however, reveals wines that are fragrant and intensely flavored. Drouhin-Laroze has a long history of producing quality wines, and today it ranks as one of Gevrey-Chambertin’s leading estates.