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Drouhin to mark milestone anniversary of Clos des Mouches in novel way

Burgundy grower and negociant Joseph Drouhin is to mark 100 years since purchasing its first vines in the Clos des Mouches with a special cuvée that will be made using a 450 year-old wine press.

Head winemaker Véronique Drouhin with the working 450 year-old wine press that she plans to use for this year’s Clos de Mouches harvest, which will be the 100th Drouhin vintage from the plot

Although Joseph Drouhin was established in 1880, it was not until 1921 that his son, Maurice Drouhin, purchased his first parcel of vines in the Clos des Mouches, citing the superior “finesse” of the wines from this part of Burgundy, which is located at the southernmost tip of the Beaune appellation, halfway between Corton-Charlemagne and Montrachet.

A century since he made that decision, his ancestors from the fourth generation are hoping to mark this milestone anniversary with a special wine made using a wine press dating from 1571, which head winemaker Véronique Drouhin said last week still “works very well”.

“To celebrate 100 years since the purchase of Clos des Mouches we hope to make a wine using a press from 1571,” she said, when presenting a set of wines over zoom on Friday, which is remarkable considering the wooden tool is 450 years old.

The press is called a ‘parrot’ as the spokes in its wheel resemble a parrot’s perches, and it has been used three times since 1980, when it was first put back into use to make a wine to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Maison Joseph Drouhin.

Clos des Mouches is a premier cru hillside vineyard, of which Joseph Drouhin owns 14 hectares, and manages biodynamically, having converted to organic farming practices as long ago as 1989.

Most of the vines are between 25 and 50 years old, with some over 85 years old. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay planted in the clos.

Massale selection is used when replanting, and Maison Joseph Drouhin has become a founding member of the Association for the Protection of the Diversity of Burgundy Grape Varieties, which was initiated to preserve the vine heritage in the region.

Clos des Mouches takes its name from the many beehives that previous winegrowers once placed in the fields. Strictly translated, a “mouche” is “fly,” but in Burgundy, they are “honey flies,” or more recognizably, “bees.”

Véronique, along with her brothers Philippe, Laurent, and Frédéric manage the Burgundy business today, as well as the first member of the fifth generation, Laurène, Véronique’s daughter, who has recently joined Maison Joseph Drouhin.

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