Wine Cellar: The little wine that could

A small Bergundy winery survived world troubles and continues to produce quality wine to this day.

pouring wine glass 88 (photo credit: )
pouring wine glass 88
(photo credit: )
In 1880, Joseph Drouhin decided to settle in Beaune, capital of the Burgundy wine trade, and start his own high-quality winery. Undeterred by the terrible crisis in the wine business provoked by the phylloxera epidemic, he kept faith in the future, and persisted in producing quality wines. His son Maurice Drouhin took over the business in 1918 after the dark days of World War I. Just as energetic as his father and gifted with a strong personality, he continued to build the firm's size and reputation. With great patience, he acquired several vineyards near Beaune, and with each purchase replanted the vines, thereby increasing the value of his first vineyard. After WWII, Maurice traveled around the world to develop an international distribution network. In 1957, the helm passed to Robert Drouhin. He was 24 then, and had been walking the vineyards with his uncle Maurice since early childhood. Robert acquired vineyards in some of the more prestigious areas, and was one of the first to believe in the future of Chablis. Between 1968 and 1972, he purchased vineyards in the heart of this region, and became one of the first to reconsider the winemaking methods of Burgundy, limiting fertilizers and reducing yields for better quality grapes. Although already familiar with most of the West Coast vineyards, in 1987 Robert Drouhin decided to acquire one in Oregon, south of Portland - an area where he knew Pinot Noir would excel. The venture was a great success: with the very first vintage (1988), the reputation of Domaine Drouhin Oregon was made. Robert Drouhin has transmitted to his children the knowledge of the terroirs, the experience of tasting, the deep understanding of true quality and how wine will age. The philosophy of the firm is to respect the soil, the vine and the environment. The Scottish company is now offering three new releases from the Joseph Drouhin winery: Chablis 2004: At harvest time, the grapes are pressed at the winery in Chablis. The juice then ferments in stainless steel tanks under controlled temperatures. After seven or eight months, the wine is bottled. The color of this fine white wine is pale straw, with a green shade. There is a fruity and fragrant nose, reminiscent of mint leaves. It is medium to full-bodied, with a long finish. NIS 119 Laforet, Bourgogne, Pinot Noir 2003:The grapes for this red wine are selected from different vineyards, generally from the C te de Beaune. They are handpicked and then transported in small crates to prevent the fruit from being crushed. Part of the wine is aged in barrels, part in stainless steel tanks, so that the wine can acquire more complexity and keep its fruitiness. This charming wine offers a lot of fruity aromas and flavors of raspberry and cherry. It is a light and pleasant drink but not a wine to cellar for many years, so drink it when young. NIS 79. Pouilly Fuisse 2004: This wine made of Chardonnay grapes has an emerald-gold hue. It is very brilliant, with a floral and fruity bouquet dominated by ripe fruit and fresh almonds. On the palate, the wine is round and dry. As such, it is a nice expression of the Chardonnay. Although Pouilly-Fuiss can be enjoyed young (after one or two years), it can also be left in the cellar for a few years. NIS 129. The wines are not kosher.