Grands EchezeauxGrand Cru
Grape Variety :
Site: located above Clos Vougeot, with only a wall separating these two famous vineyards.
History & tradition: the name comes from "cheza" (plural "chezeaux"): a hamlet. The monks of Cîteaux, who already owned Clos Vougeot, coveted the Musigny vineyard but were never able to acquire it. They put all their hopes instead on Grands-Echezaux so as to become the rival of the prestigious Musigny.
Soil: on a moderate incline, facing due east. The soil is chalk from the Bajocian layer, ideally suited for Pinot Noir.
Drouhin estate: 0,47 ha. (1.175 acre).
Average age of the vines: 22 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.
"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: 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.
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
"In its youth, the wine displays aromas of great finesse, reminiscent of cherry and dark chocolate or cocoa bean, which is a delicate and sought after characteristic of this wine. As the wine matures, these aromas evolve towards other refined nuances evoking undergrowth, truffle, fine leather and sometimes light notes of cigar or cedar wood. The result is of great elegance and breed. The tannins are refined and the silk and velvet of the body are a perfect match. Very long aftertaste in which some of the aromas previously encountered are again in evidence and create the most elegant sensation".
As every year we sorted the grapes at once to select the most beautiful bunches that were to be kept in whole clusters and to remove berries that could present a lack of maturity. The sanitary state was very satisfactory with almost no rot. Very quickly at the beginning of the fermentations the colours were released and gradually the varietal character of Pinot Noir was expressed. We favoured this aromatic expression to look for balanced wines without too much power. The tannins are nicely melted, the acidity levels from normal to low. The fermentations and macerations lasted about 3 weeks. In the course of the winter, the malolactic fermentations were triggered and proceeded sometimes rather quickly.
Temperature: 16-18°C (61-65°F).
Cellaring: 10 to 40 years.