Robert Parker 91
From the domaine’s 1.5-hectares, the usual 20 barrels was reduced to half for the 2012 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. It has an opulent, vivacious bouquet with small dark cherries, blueberry and creme de cassis that is deliriously gorgeous. The palate is sweet on the entry with fleshy boysenberry and bilberry fruit. There is good presence and length here, although it needs just a touch more nuance on the finish. Always a solid performed, this comes recommended. This domaine must possess one of the most enviable portfolios in the Cote de Nuits, with several grand crus to their name scattered across 11.5-hectares of prime vineyard. So I guess one must ask the question why Drouhin-Laroze is not better known? I suppose you could argue that in the past, the wines had an air of commerciality about them, wines that were commendable and enjoyable, yet rarely approached the profundity of say Rousseau or Bachelet. Their intrinsic quality was not in doubt. The trouble is that when you have such a roll call of iconic grand crus to your name, the bar is simply raised. Personally, I have found much pleasure in previous vintages that always seem to show well in barrel. I have always found winemaker Philippe Drouhin to be a conscientious vigneron, usually with his wife Christine by his side, either in the office or pouring wines at tastings. And there is now a gradual changing over to the sixth generation as their son Nicolas and daughter Caroline, gain more involvement in the running of the estate that now includes a negociant arm overseen by Caroline. Tasting through their 2012s, there does remain a slight â€œheavinessâ€ to the wines that you could align with say, Bernard Dugat, and that does not mean they are inherently inferior ” just that it is a perceptible leitmotif that means they rarely contain the finesse or effortlessness of those aforementioned growers. I always come away thinking if that if they just tweaked their practices a little, they could suddenly see their wines capture that sense of magic ” perhaps pick a little earlier, extract less and moderate the level of new wood that has always made an impression e.g. reconsider using 100% new oak for all the grand crus. This is an estate to watch. They have always quietly gone about creating very good wines, but it would not take much with those grand crus to see them suddenly elevated to the top league. Importer: available through Diva Beaune in the United States, also Atherton Wine Imports (www.awiwine.com) in California and through Fields, Morris & Verdin in the UK.