Grape Variety :
Site: in the southern area of the Beaune appellation, close to Pommard. As a matter of fact, there is a vineyard across the border of the Pommard appellation, with nearly the same name, Pommard-Epenots.
History & tradition: some of the vineyards, surrounded by small walls and paths still extant today, were already cultivated at the time of the Gallo-Romans. Each vineyard (or "place-name") was given a name. "Epenotes" comes from "épine", which means thorn in French. Thorny bushes probably grew in this area.
Soil: brown earth and pebbles.
Drouhin estate: 0,91 ha. (2.275 acres).
Average age of the vines: 25 years.
Biological cultivation since 1990; biodynamic cultivation a few years later.
Vine stocks: sélection massale (propagation of new vine stocks from a number of selected vines) done at the Drouhin nursery; also clones of recognized quality.
Soil maintenance: compost of manure and white wood, sometimes guano (seabird manure used as fertilizer). Soil is ploughed either by tractor or by horse to manage spreading of weeds.
Treatment: only authorized products for biological cultivation are used: infusions and macerations of plant materials, sulfur and copper, powdered rock. Natural predators are not eliminated.
Plantation density: from 10,000 to 12,500 stocks/ha in order to extract all possible nuances from the terroir and limit the production of each vine stock.
Yield: we aim to keep our yields low, more in line with the previous regulation, around 20% less than allowed by the current law.
Harvesting: by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit.
Sorting of the grapes: in the vineyard and at the cuverie (winery) if necessary.
Joseph Drouhin seeks total control of the process of extraction; extraction gives colour and substance to a wine but should never be detrimental to its finesse and typical character.
"Pigeage" (punching down of the cap during fermentation): once a day until half of fermentation is done; one pumping over (remontage) per day till the end of the fermentation.
Pressing: vertical press; separation of free run juice from pressed juice.
Type: in barrels (20% in new oak).
Length: 14 to 18 months.
Origin of the wood: French oak forests (Tronçay in particular).
Weathering of the wood: Joseph Drouhin insists on total control of the weathering for a period of 3 years, one of the contributing elements to the elegance of the wine.
Follow-up: barrel by barrel.
Fining ("collage", to clarify the wine): light, after careful tasting.
Throughout the ageing process, decisions are taken only after careful tasting evaluation, barrel by barrel. The data obtained is then completed through technical analysis. As with every other Joseph Drouhin wine, absolute priority is given to the true expression of terroir and character of the vintage.
Tasting note by Véronique Boss-Drouhin
"As a Premier Cru of Beaune, Epenotes displays an intense, ruby-red color. While young, the aromas are reminiscent of red berry and cherry. When mature, the aromas evolve towards spicy and balsamic notes. It is a wine with good structure and no harshness. In fact, it can age quite well. A flavour of ripe cherry lingers in the aftertaste".
Temperature: 16°C (61-62°F).
Cellaring: 8 to 20 years.