Drouhin acquires two properties in Burgundy
Maison Joseph Drouhin has made two significant acquisitions in Burgundy, which together expand its vineyard holdings by more than 20 hectares.
News of the purchases was announced on Friday by president of the producer, Frédéric Drouhin, who said that the properties would “strengthen” Drouhin’s estate, which now covers 60 appellations spread across 103 hectares.
Notably, the acquisitions extend Drouhin’s landholding outside its heartland of the Côte de Beaune, and follows moves by other Burgundy producers – such as Domaine Chanson – to expand into less heralded areas of the region to secure a supply of grapes, make more affordable wines, and spread the risk of crop losses due to climatic events, from frost to hail.
Expansion into less famous parts of Burgundy is also, of course, a much more affordable way of increasing a landholding – vineyards outside the main Côte d’Or villages are significantly cheaper than those within them.
Extending Drouhin’s estate into the Mâconnais for the first time, the producer has bought Château de Chasselas in Saint-Véran, a purchase that includes 7.5ha of vineyards in the appellation – including a plot believed worthy of an upgrade to premier cru status – and an incredible building too, dating from the 14th and 18th centuries.
Regarding the latter (pictured above), Drouhin has partnered with the Millésime hotel group, which will convert the historical buildings into a hotel, scheduled to open in 2025.
The estate also includes several parcels of Beaujolais and one that is planted with the Chasselas grape variety.
For this year’s harvest, Drouhin will rely on the viticultural team already in place, and the wines will be vinified Château de Chasselas, with the first release of Saint-Véran Joseph Drouhin Château de Chasselas planned for summertime next year.
The vines are currently in conversion to organics – the viticultural approach, along with biodynamics, that is practiced by Maison Joseph Drouhin.
The producer was already making wine from a plot owned by Château de Chasselas, which meant that, as Drouhin said, it “knows the quality of this terroir”.
According to the producer, Mr Jean-Marc Veyron la Croix and Mr Jacky Martinon, who have been the owners of Château de Chasselas since 1999, “have decided to turn the page after bringing this estate back to life with total personal investment and a lot of passion”.
Elsewhere, Maison Joseph Drouhin has bought the Rapet estate in Saint-Romain, which comprises 8.6ha in its white and red appellations. The purchase also includes 1 hectare in Auxey-Duresses white and red and more than 1 hectare in Meursault and Pommard.
According to Drouhin, the Rapet estate is “a long-time winemaking partner”, while the vineyards – like those at Château de Chasselas – have started their conversion of organics.
The maison has also suggested that the vineyards of Saint-Romain, being located in a higher and cooler area of Burgundy, may become more sought-after if climate change sees this part of France get warmer.
The estate acquired by Drouhin sits at 365m above sea level, making it one of the highest in this area, with Saint-Romain vineyards extending to 400m in elevation.
With these recent acquisitions, the producer stressed that the Drouhin estate now covers all of Burgundy from north to south, extending from Chablis to the Mâconnais, while it also noted that the domaine has enlarged significantly since the purchase of the first parcels of Clos des Mouches by Maurice Drouhin in 1921 – a Beaune premier cru that’s become an emblem of the house.
It was Maurice’s son Robert Drouhin, who considerably developed the estate in the Côte d’Or, along with Chablis, acquiring nearly 40ha in this latter area at the end of the 60s.
Then, in 1987, with his daughter Véronique, Robert created the Drouhin estate in Oregon, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, which has just celebrated its 35th birthday.