One of the things about knowing lots of growers in Burgundy is one can get a little sniffy about the negociants. You start thinking things like, without direct control in the vineyards they cannot keep the quality up. Then some vicious bastard will open lots of Dominique Laurent wines for you and you become convinced that negociants wish to maintain some warped house style without any considerations of vineyard qualities. In the case of Laurent all he seems to seek is a frighteningly large amount of new oak. Only oak!
But then, some negociants have long term contracts with real quality producers who do take care of their vineyards. This is good for the negociant because it means they are getting decent kit into their portfolio and it is good for the growers who have a guaranteed source of income that comes in early after the harvest when importers and other international clients may be less reliable.
I have had some stunning wines at the really flash end of the market from a few negociants who clearly encourage the best from their growers, but I have only rarely been impressed at the middle quality bracket of the market. Time to taste one from a vineyard that has been much on my mind of late…
Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru Clos Sorbe 2011, Joseph Drouhin
My, what an attractive nose! It has the earthiness one hopes for in a good Morey but it is really polished and refined. It also has really svelte, slightly floral fruit. This is Morey alright, and really good Morey at that.
The vintage character shows with the accessible, pure fruit that really makes you think it is up for a good plucking. 2011s are so much fun to sniff and drink and this one has all its pleasures on ostentatious display ready for you to dive in and ravish.
Yet it is not just a pair of huge jubblies asking for a good mashing, there is a refined complexity here which lifts this above the obvious pleasures of poonts. The fruit and the earthiness are a harmonious delight and there is no distraction from excessive alcohol or new oak. This is the kind of nose that restores one’s faith in Burgundy as the thinking man’s seductive pleasure and deserves much praise for that.
If memory serves, and it often does not so please correct me if I am more wildly mistaken than a man who thinks that Jorge Luis Borges is still alive, Drouhin have contracts with Domaine Henri Jouan. This shows much of the same beauty and elegance that wines from that fine estate are satisfyingly suffused with. Just from the nose you would be hard pressed not to guess, if presented this blind, that it did not come from them, or someone of similar sublimity.
The palate is a connatural blend of concupiscent joy and intellectual engagement. The fruit is smooth and richly dense, it is layered with levels of deliciousness that engage the senses. If you do not find this a sirenic mouthful, you must be a pretty dreary type.
Then there is the polished, silky earthiness. That is really attractive too. It adds to both the complexity and direct pleasure. These characters are taken to a higher level by the acidity, which is bright and lively, without stepping over the line into sharpness. Its tannic structure is also a lissome enchantment.
So this provides visceral satisfaction, that is sure, but as I stated about this is not just a set of bouncers to nuzzle. Rather, with its intellectual attractions as well as the lascivious ones I would say this is fesses de Chez Fesses, and that is quite a compliment. The wine obviously deserves it.
I wonder about how it will age. The acidity is lovely now with that fresh, attractive fruit, but might it becoming too prickly when the fruit softens? I admit I like wines young, but I would not risk it if I were you. Drink them now. NOW! Do you hear? Get popping those corks or I will set The Editor and his hockey bag full of beating implements on you!
You can buy this wine from Hand Picked Burgundy.