The renaissance of the negociants: Drouhin

At a tasting put together by Inverarity Vaults, who supply mainly the Scottish restaurant trade with fine wines, was this small selection from the venerable Burgundy négociant Drouhin. The ‘negoce’ in Burgundy were traditionally ‘aggregators’ of wine, buying grapes, juice or finished wines from small, often tiny producers to vinify, age and market to the world. Whilst Burgundy swung away from the negoce towards estate wines for a period, there has recently been something of a reawakening, with established houses like Jadot and Drouhin resurgent, making excellent wines and owning more and more of their own vineyards, whilst brand new negociant houses like Vincent Girardin, Nicolas Potel and Deux Montilles are helping raise quality standards ever higher amongst négociant houses. Approximate retail prices in sterling and links to retail stockists are given.

white wines

Joseph Drouhin (France, Burgundy) Mâcon Villages 2004Sweet, slightly estery and pear-droppy youthful aromas at first, with decent, fresh fruit coming through on the palate and a fine backbone of lemony acidity. Pleasant, and fresh. Good. Around £9.99, see retail stockists on

Joseph Drouhin (France, Burgundy) Puligny-Montrachet 2001
Cork says ‘Clos de Garenne’ so is this a de-classified 1er Cru? Sumptuous nose of creamy, fragrant oak. Touches of vanilla and butter. The palate has a lovely quality of ripe, full, buttery per fruit. Lots of cool, classy definition to this wine, with a nutty edge to the palate and plenty of crisp orchard fruit acidity. Very good length here, and delicious and quite complex. Very good indeed/excellent. Around £19.99, See retail stockists on
red wines

Joseph Drouhin (France, Burgundy) Vosne-Romanée 2002
Open, approachable, with lovely deep cherry notes and a certain mineral smokiness. On the palate quite dramatically dark and more closed. There’s a searing core of liquorice edged black cherry, but lovely freshness and vivid personality. Tannins are ripe and smooth, and there is plenty of bite from crisp, kirsch-like acidity. Very good indeed, and possibly excellent given time. Around £24.99, see retail stockists on

Joseph Drouhin (France, Burgundy) Chorey les Beaune 2003
Much more obvious new oak at this stage, with a rounded vanillin note. Deep, sweet, very ripe fruit. On the palate perhaps a touch less charm than the 2002, but a terrific density, with a plum and vanillin layer over quite ripe tannins and a plummy depth of acidity. Lovely weight and plushness here, in a very different style due as much to vintage as village I suspect. Very good indeed. Around £12.99, see retail stockists on