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The Droins have been producing wines in Chablis for nearly 400 years (their history as vignerons goes back at least to 1620). Benoît represents the14th generation of Droins and is one of the most dynamic winemakers in the region. His father Jean-Paul put the domaine on the map but perhaps went too far down the road of new oak barrels. The domaine owns 13 hectares of vineyards and produces 14 different wines, including Petit Chablis, Chablis, 7 Premiers Crus and 5 Grands Crus. Benoît runs a more sophisticated operation from a large modern winery almost in the shadow of the grands crus. He has revised his pruning system and significantly reduced yields. In the cellar the principal change has been away from new oak. Each wine now gets the treatment which Benoît thinks is suited to its terroir. Thus Petit Chablis, Chablis, premiers crus Vaucoupin and Côte de Lechet, and grand cru Blanchots are all fermented and matured in tank. Vaillons, Mont de Milieu and Montée de Tonnerre receive 25 per cent of barrel fermentation and maturation, 35 per cent for Vosgros and Vaudésir, 40 per cent for Montmains and Valmur, peaking at 50 per cent for Fourchaume, Grenouilles and Les Clos. However the age of the oak and the choice of tonnelier may vary according to the cuvée. The maximum new oak is ten per cent in the grands crus. Droin says "I use less new oak now than I did 10 years ago; my feeling is that you don`t make your best wines in new oak barrels." Although these are rich, full-bodied, buttery wines, they still manage to retain a steeliness, raciness and purity of fruit which are the hallmarks of classic Chablis. Jasper Morris MW
Bottle 12 x 75cl1cs
While Benoît Droin bemoans the reduced crop in 2010, albeit not as savage a deficit as in the Côte d’Or, he is thrilled with the quality. 2010 Chablis unites ripe flavours with excellent acidity. As usual Benoît has managed his different terroirs with masterly precision, varying the amount of oak to suit each cuvée. Therefore, there is no wood for the Grand Cru Blanchots, but 50% for Les Grenouilles. This is a domaine that lets you choose wine that suits your palate.
Benoît Droin is the 14th generation of the family producing wine in Chablis, looking after a 25-hectare domaine with an impressive range of Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. Overall Benoît’s crop was down 15%, largely in straight Chablis after frost, and in the early ripening plots which suffered from drought. The wines are very backward this year as the prolonged cold spring inhibited the malolactic fermentation. However, it is very clear that these are wines of great concentration and real potential.
Bottle 6 x 75cl1cs
Benoît began harvesting on 26th September so almost everything was picked before the rain. Supply is down 30 percent because of the flowering but there was very little rot. It all passed off without problem during vinification and in the cellar.